December Fun!

© 2015 Meagan Healy - Two Guitarists
© 2015 Meagan Healy – Two Guitarists

It’s December and it’s cold, chilly, it gets dark at 4pm and EVERYONE is having parties on the SAME day. Sometimes, it would be nice to just sit back and RELAX.

Had a conversation recently with one of our Board Members, Duane Morse.

What was the last movie you saw?

“I’ve been watching a lot of music related documentaries, lately”.

Really! Which ones?

We loved the list of ideas, so we crowd-sourced a few other Board Members and Directors and came up with a nice assortment of documentaries, movies, and shows that represent all kinds of music, not only classical.

We will be posting the titles, one-a-day on our Facebook and Twitter accounts, for as long as the list lasts, starting tomorrow, Thursday, December 10th.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on these :

  • Have you seen them?
  • What did you think?
  • Do you have one that you would definitely recommend and why?
  • Did they offer any insights into the music business for you?

Will create a blog post with the entire list at the end of December, including 2 Andrés Segovia documentaries (available for online streaming) as a treat.

Warm up, stay warm, and enjoy the recommendations!

Meagan Healy (Social Media for John E. Marlow Guitar Series)

Outreach: Marco Socias, Classical Guitarist from Spain – Hagerstown, MD

On Friday October 23, 2015, internationally renowned guitarist Marco Socias visited the Barbara Ingram School for the Arts in Hagerstown, Maryland, where he shared stories and played selections from Spanish guitar repertoire for over 100 attentive students. The mission of the Barbara Ingram School for the Arts is to provide every student with a rigorous, comprehensive, college preparatory curriculum rooted in intense, pre-professional training in the arts that encourages excellence and success in their personal development as students, artists and cultural leaders. 1

Mr. Socias’ visit supported this mission by showcasing a world-class level of classical guitar performance to an audience of students from various arts disciplines. He shared his expertise about effective practice habits,discussed his lifestyle and extensive travels as a professional performing artist,and offered the opportunity for high school students to engage in a session of questions and answers. In addition to his remarkable musicianship, Mr. Socias’ warm personality and enthusiasm contributed to the positive response from the students, faculty and administration in attendance. For at least one pupil majoring in guitar studies, Mr. Socias’ performance was her first experience hearing live, classical guitar outside of the practice room.

Candice Mowbray

1 Retrieved from, December 9, 2015.

Photos: Classical Guitarist Marco Socias, Spain

Spanish guitarist Marco Socías endeared himself to the John E. Marlow Guitar audience in 2012 with a flawless concert featuring beautiful renditions of Spanish compositions. We welcomed back this remarkable artist in November.

“Marco Socías’ music breathes sweetness and sensitivity. His easy command makes the public forget the traditional difficulties of the instrument. Marco Socías is not a guitar virtuoso. He is even more: a virtuoso of music itself.”
El Sol

How about a social media summer game?


If you live in the Washington, DC Metro area (including the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia – DMV), let’s play a game this summer – on social media!

This area has a lot of classical guitar history to it, thanks to Sophocles Pappas and many of his students, as well as continued support and enthusiasm of every single one of the area teachers, students, music programs and audience members.

But would you say that the classical guitar is still very central to the DMV area?

We thought we’d have a little fun finding out exactly how many classical guitarists (whether student, teacher, administrator, or other professionals) are in the DMV area and are also active on social media. It’s an experiment!

This summer (starting from June (now) through September), when you hear a classical guitar performance, play a classical guitar, or just see a classical guitar (yours or your friends), share a picture of it and tag it: #classicalguitarDMV.

(And if you feel like it (on Twitter), tag us: @MarlowGuitar)

Let’s do this!

Audience Review: Berta Rojas, Classical Guitarist from Paraguay

Tim Healy suggested I “review” Berta Rojas’s concert last Saturday night, March 21st, at the Westmoreland Congressional Church of Christ. Following in the footsteps of such august critics as Olin Downs and Bosley Crowther of the New York Times and Virgil Thomson of the Herald-Tribune, I naturally approached this assignment with trepidation. But what was almost my real undoing was following in the footsteps of my 11-year-old grandson, Brendan, who wrote a very favorable review of the concert himself earlier this week!

Berta’s recital was a potpourri of Hispanic composers spanning two continents and two centuries. The two Manuels, Ponce and de Falla were both born in the late 19th Century, within a few years of each other and died within a few years of each other in the mid-20th Century.

Her program opened with the ‘Suite in A Minor’ by Ponce, which mirrored the format of J. S. Bach’s French and English Suites, originally written for harpsichord but played on the piano today. Just like Bach, Ponce began his suite with a ‘Preludio’, followed by an ‘Allemande’, ‘Sarabande’, ‘Gavotte’, and ‘Gigue’. Bach himself used these forms, as did his contemporary, French composer François Couperin. But similarities ended there. Ponce’s ‘Suite’ was thoroughly modern with a dash of Mexican flavor, but few trills and no mordents. Berta, however, performed them with the crisp, strict beat demanded of this 18th Century style, allowing for little rubato.

The featured piece before intermission was ‘Fiesta Americana’ by American composer Vincent Lindsey Clark, dedicated to and admirably played by Ms. Rojas. It was an interesting piece in a contemporary vein, exploring various guitar techniques. Included in the suite was ‘Flight of the Butterfly’, Clark’s answer to Rimsky-Korsakov’s Flight of the Bumble-Bee! Hopefully this will also have a butterfly effect on Clark’s music!

Manuel de Falla’s music is mainly known by such orchestral compositions from his ballets, ‘El Amor Brujo’ (roughly translated ‘The Love of the Magician’) and ‘El Sombrero de Tres Picos’ (‘The Tree-Cornered Hat’). His famous ‘Ritual Fire Dance’ was made even more famous by his piano arrangement dedicated to and performed by Artur Rubinstein, who seldom left the stage without playing it as an encore. ¡In fact, Rubinstein wasn’t allowed to leave the stage once in Madrid, until he played it as an encore six, yes, six times!

Here, Falla was represented in ‘Seven Popular Spanish Songs’ performed by Rebecca Lister and accompanied by Berta. I was impressed not only by Rebecca’s singing ability but also her impeccable diction—in song and speech. Berta’s accompaniment was just that—accompaniment. She played with warmth in the shadows while the spotlight was on Rebecca.

Berta closed her printed program with ‘Danza Paraguaya’, one of whose themes danced through my head for days! This was where sensitivity transcended technique. Having been brought up on this music, it’s obviously in her blood.

– Bob Scharf

Youth Audience Review: Berta Rojas, Classical Guitarist, Paraguay

I went with my grandfather, Bob Scharf, to see Berta Rojas play guitar.

It was very fascinating to see someone that good because I am a guitar player myself. It was a fabulous performance! I liked hearing it because it had a unique sound that I am not used to hearing.

I hope that if I keep practicing, I will become as good as Berta Rojas one day. I hope that she comes back again sometime soon!

Brendan Scharf (11yrs)