February 17, 2004
Guitar player extraordinaire, symphony in concert March 9
He has been labeled one of the greatest guitar players on the planet, and on March 9, about 800 lucky ticket-holders will get to see him in person.
Tommy Emmanuel, a huge celebrity in his native Australia and in Europe, will be performing with the Winfield Regional Symphony conducted by Gary Gackstatter at 7:30 p.m. March 9 in the Robert Brown Theatre inside the Brown Center on the main campus of Cowley County Community College.
Tickets are $25 per person and may be purchased from the Sid Regnier Bookstore, 207 W. Fifth Ave.,
from 7:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Persons also may charge by phone at (620) 441-5277. The concert is being presented in partnership with the Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield.
Emmanuel is becoming a star in the United States. One glance at the accolades bestowed upon him by other guitar greats, and it's easy to see why he has become so popular. The late Chet Atkins had this recollection of Emmanuel:
"Tommy appeared at the Chet Atkins Appreciation Society Convention a few years ago and brought the house down. People have been talking about him ever since, and his fame is spreading. He's about the only guitarist I've heard who can come close to what Lenny (Breau) did with harmonics, and he's got a style all his own. I think he's probably the greatest finger-picker in the world today. He's inventive, fearless and has a flawless sense of rhythm. He's a great showman, too. You can't watch Tommy perform and not feel happy."
Said Acoustic Guitar Magazine: "Tommy's recordings and his songs are imbued with a vitality and beauty rarely heard in instrumental music today."
Fellow guitar player and Professor of Computer Science Zach Bergen from Colorado sums it up:
"What you will see when you hear Tommy is countless hours of hard work and passionate dedication to his art, because Tommy is an artist and he paints masterpieces with his instrument. That is why his music appeals to more than just guitar fans. What is happening to people during Tommy's concerts is that they are experiencing a man who shows love and compassion through his music and explores the frontiers of feeling, the way any truly great artist uses his/her medium to express the divine. Tommy Emmanuel is a spiritually driven man whose instrument happens to be the guitar. He is a modern day prophet who is uniquely doing his service to mankind. There is meaning in his notes."
The year 2001 was one of tremendous growth, both in audience attendance and musical collaboration, all over the world. After Emmanuel's appearance at the closing ceremonies of the Sydney Olympic Games, and his debut at the Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield in late 2000, everyone wanted to know who this mysterious Australian guitar virtuoso was.
Emmanuel is a household name in his native Australia. His music and his life have become part of Australian legend. Through hard work and endless tours, he has earned a success unequalled by any instrumental artist ever in Australia. With four platinum and three gold albums and many awards, he sets the standard for others to emulate.
"I've spent all my life from the age of 4 playing music and entertaining people," Emmanuel said. "I never wanted to do anything else. Music brings people together."
In 1998, Emmanuel was nominated for a Grammy Award with Atkins for "The Day Fingerpickers took over the World."
Emmanuel has a new album out titled "Endless Road."
Under Gackstatter's leadership, The Winfield Regional Symphony has gained a reputation as one of the most enthusiastic and professional volunteer symphonies in the country--winning the 2001 Kansas Governor's Arts Award. Its willingness to venture into new territory has led the group to play with such notables as John McCutcheon, the rock group Kansas, Three Dog Night, Don McClean, Michael Martin Murphey, The Paul Winter Consort, Barbara Higbie, John Gorka, and Tom Chapin.