By Helen Lucas
Music has the ability to transport people to another place, a light strum on a guitar, soft brushes on a drum or even someone’s soft, but powerful voice can make an audience forget where they are. The Happy Valley Guitar Orchestra had this effect on their audience in the Fuller Arts Center Wednesday night while playing their diverse music. The orchestra jumped time periods and countries and made the audience forget they were on a college campus altogether.
The orchestra plays anything from Bartok music, which is folk, to Lady Gaga and Led Zeppelin in their shows. The group started their act on Wednesday night by playing 1962 surf music before playing Stravinsky music, where each song only last one to two minutes. The orchestra ended the night by having two of their guitar players switch over to violin before starting to play Irish music. Many of the songs the group played were originally written for the piano or other instruments. “I thought what they did with the classic music in terms of making it for guitar from a piano piece [was the most impressive part],” said audience member Brian Krylowicz.
This unique group is made up of 20 talented electric and acoustic guitar players and was founded in 2009 by conductor and artistic director, Peter Blanchette. “I came up with the idea because I realized there were a lot of people were I live who play the guitar and play really well and would probably like to play with other guitarist,” said Blanchette.
The Happy Valley Guitar Orchestra was part of the William Simpson Fine Arts Series offered at Springfield this spring. As part of the series there will be Art Exhibitions, readings and performances the rest of the semester.