Musician Andy Jurik is practicing before GuitarFest on Tuesday, March 14th, taken by Khatir Stewart I The All State
Fingerstyle Guitarist and songwriter Bryce Mullins is playing Classical Guitar on Tuesday, March 14th, taken by Khatir Stewart.
Classical Guitarist and Composer Alan Mearns play Classical guitar on Tuesday, March 14th, taken by Khatir Stewart.

Music and instrumentals are essential to life and breathe fresh air into many situations. This includes many genres, such as rock, pop, and especially classical music, originating in the mid-18th century through to the early 19th century. However, the classical guitar originated in Spain in the 16th century and became a popular instrument through the centuries.

With such a heavenly history to account for the instrument, many people attempt to learn the tool but don’t know where to start or what to base their playing on. Some would like to come and experience a night to enjoy and revel in classical, enjoyable pieces of music for ambiance. That is where the GuitarFest comes in.

The GuitarFest, an event hosted partly by Austin Peay’s Music Department and the Center of Excellence for the Creative Arts, spans three days with three musical performances from APSU graduates Alan Mearns, Andy Jurik, and Bryce Mullins. The event was tailored to the interest of current students in the art of the guitar and showed off classical pieces in which students can take reference.

Classical Guitarist Andy Jurik said, “Just how versatile and expressive the guitar is, there’s so many different emotions, so many different gestures, and sentiments, and ideas you can get across with just one instrument, just the one solo guitar.” Jurik said, “I think that is what really made me fall in love with this type of instrument, so that’s something I really want to get across to the audience.”

Alan Mearns, Andy Jurik, and Bryce Mullins studied at Austin Peay, returning for the Guitarfest. Doctor Stanley Yates, a veteran of the classical guitar, is known for his performance, scholarly research of music, and teaching of the guitar and its evolution as a medium, after years of performing and teaching.

“We have our former students from here who’re high-level players now, so let’s have some of them back to give them the kind of kudos they deserve for having made something out of this, ” Doctor Stanley Yates said. “But also for the current students to see that students from here have gone out into the world and done this and that you could do it. I hope that it inspires the current amount of students.”

Many students start learning music at different ages and for various reasons with varying goals in mind. “I think it’s important to let people have fun with it too and be amateurs if they want to; not everyone needs to be a professional musician, and it’s okay just to do it for the love of it, and encouraging that too,” said Musician Bryce Mullins. “If they really do have the passion, then saying “yeah, go for it!”, but being able to do it as a hobby is important.”

“Well, you say, the creative process, but it’s like that seed of that initial inspiration, which is the fun part too. The hard part is perhaps developing it into a fully-fledged piece of art that’s worth doing,” said Musician Alan Mearns.

“Never forget what initially fascinated you about music, whatever it was, whether it was a particular song or learning a particular thing. Never forget what intrigued you about your instrument, recording your own beats, producing, and writing different songs,” said Jurik. “Never forget what fascinated you about that because that will lead you down interesting paths; whether you find yourself doing something completely different, there’s still going to be the core of what inspired you, always hold on to that.”