While many kids enjoyed their Saturday outdoors or at home, 100 Toledo School for the Arts students were at school yesterday
But the young musicians - though confined to their downtown school building at 333 14th St. from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. yesterday - did not complain.
Instead, they performed with friends, attended workshops for all levels of experience in rock, blues, jazz, metal, country, bluegrass, and folk, and listened to visiting artists as part of Guitar Festival 2010.
"This is all about having fun jamming with friends," said Taylor Nickles, 14, an eighth-grader at the school who plays bass guitar. "If I weren't here today, I would still be jamming now at a friend's place."
Said eighth grader Macio Zelip, 13, after playing 12-string guitar in a ska/reggae/rock fusion session with Taylor and two other classmates in front of a dozen people: "We had a few people sitting in front of me, watching. And there was this father talking to his son about what I was doing. And I just felt real good about him. He was a total stranger."
The fourth annual guitar festival offered workshops on playing technique, pedal effects, setup and staging, song writing, and succeeding as a female artist. There were also guest performers, including Toledo's Jo "MoeJoe" Boes and His Noble Jones with his blues/jazz/funk fusion sound.
Randy Sobel, 55, an 11-year guitar instructor at the school and an event organizer, said an addition to the guitar festival this year was so-called master classes - extended workshops with artists such as Nathan Montgomery, an experimental percussive acoustic and jazz guitarist from Grand Rapids, Mich., and guitarist Lee Dyament, who teaches at Wayne State University.
"The idea [of the event] is playing with other guitar players and exchanging ideas with us, exchanging names, and numbers," Mr. Sobel said.
"And after this, they take some of it with them, go home, try it out, have a good time," he added of students. "And all of a sudden, they find out that there is more to guitar than 'just put it on real loud and make funny noises,' but actually play material, play songs, and [maybe] become a musician."
Said Barry Bundy of Warren, Mich., who was one of a few dozen visitors on the school's fourth floor: "This is a tremendous event. I wish we had a school in a situation like this back home."
Mr. Bundy is the father of Jilly Mae, an 18-year-old guitarist and songwriter who both performed at the event and led a new workshop for about a dozen students. Her workshop, "Making It As A Female Artist," focused on the song-writing process and getting past writer's block.
"There is really no trick," said the recent graduate of Arts Academy In the Woods in Fraser, Mich. "You just have to make yourself get back in the mind-set of feeling the emotions you felt when you first started writing the songs. That's my way of doing it."
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