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James Piorkowski, Evan Drummond, and guitar alumni hold Oasis Guitar Week in Bronx
Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Evan Drummond, far right, and James Piorkowski (seated in white shirt, second from left) held a week of guitar classes for Bronx high school students, with help from former SUNY Fredonia guitar students Anthony LaLena, Jahzeel Montes and David Sobel.

Distinguished Professor James Piorkowski of the School of Music reported that in July the Oasis Guitar Week was launched at the Celia Cruz Bronx High School of Music in New York City. With the assistance of Fredonia colleague and Adjunct Professor Evan Drummond and three recent Fredonia classical guitar graduates — Anthony LaLena, Jahzeel Montes and David Sobel — the week kicked off with a faculty concert at nearby Lehman College, and then the group taught nine guitar students, from 11 to 16 years old, in technique classes, private lessons, and ensembles, with the week ending in a student concert.

The main sponsors for the week were David Hepple, president of Oasis Inc. an instrument accessory company in Maryland, and the Yale University Venture Grant.

Orchestra director at the high school David West noted, "The Oasis Guitar Week at Celia Cruz Bronx High School of Music was a magnificent success! As a guitar player myself I've always been interested in fostering a place for the guitar players in the school to grow and this was a pinnacle moment for them. The program was intensive and showed a remarkable amount of individual growth over the week. This experience exposed them to the opportunities that lie on their instrument if they pursue a higher education in classical guitar. Though only a week in length, the program was powerful enough that some of them may in fact do that." He added, "The focused nature of the week had a potent effect on students' self-accountability and each displayed pride in their accomplishments in their final performances. With the momentum created in the week, the school intends to continue this classical guitar program and further the positive impact it's having on these students."

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