ASGN 2020 Online

By August 27, 2020 Blog, Past Shows

Featured guitarists: Vicki Genfan, Makana, Larry Mitchell, Laurence Juber, Christie Lenée, Stephen Bennett, Andrew York, Peter Sprague, Fred Benedetti, David Broza, Rory Block, Alex de Grassi, Stanley Jordan, and Muriel Anderson, whose vision and warmth coalesce these gatherings annually. Guest speakers: Joe Lamond and Jessica Baron.Proceeds benefit Guitars in the Classroom (GITC) and the Music for Life Alliance (MFLA), supporting music programs for students in need.

The Sponsors

The ASGN, Music for Life Alliance and Guitars in the Classroom would like to thank our sponsors for covering operating expenses, allowing 100 percent of the proceeds to go to charity. Thank you, NAMM, Sam Ash Music, Martin Guitar, TrueFire, GHS Strings, Fretmonkey Records and ToneWoodAmp.

“It’s the inherent spirit of very talented artists that makes each All Star Guitar Night show a transforming experience.” shares Muriel Anderson.

Even in this time of reduced income, artists graciously give live and recorded performances, thank you for supporting our artists by buying their CDs and contributing to their performances.

About the Music for Life Alliance

Founded by Muriel Anderson, The Music For Life Alliance provides grants and fundraising support for non-profit organizations that provide instruments and/or lessons to kids who might not otherwise experience the joy of playing music. It is a 501c(3) tax exempt, not-for-profit charity that is funded by Muriel Anderson’s All Star Guitar Night, Muriel’s solo concerts, and individual donations.

About Guitars in the Classroom

“Music Education requires our full support at this unprecedented time,” Guitars in the Classroom founder and executive director, Jess Baron explains. “Making music restores students’ spirits, providing a positive focus and an engaging way for students to learn.

Guitars in the Classroom (GITC) is a nonprofit dedicated to creating access to musical learning for all students and improving the quality of education by providing ongoing musical training and resources to all interested educators. GITC trains, provides supplies and coaches teachers who wish to lead and integrate hands-on music with lessons in English language arts, math, science, social studies and more. GITC’s work promotes teacher effectiveness, student engagement, collaboration, creativity, communication, critical thinking and academic achievement! GITC is headquartered in San Diego, Calif. and offers online classes and in-person school-based courses for teachers from coast to coast in the U.S. GITC’s programs are free. Learning through music boosts academic engagement and success, imparts literacy skills and makes 21st Century Skills a natural part of learning. For more information, visit:

Thank you! …Muriel Anderson

Players’ Bios


Every now and then an artist comes along whose music reaches out and  touches the soul of all who hear them…virtuoso guitarist, singer and composer Vicki Genfan is among those artists. Drawing from folk, jazz, pop, soul and world music, Vicki is redefining ‘singer/songwriter culture.’ With a mastery of the acoustic guitar that borders on pure  alchemy, audiences are mesmerized by the waves of sound Vicki creates with just two hands and her voice.

Playing her own percussive technique of ‘slap-tap’ acoustic guitar, Vicki Genfan has been showcased as one of the world’s top guitarists at festivals such as The International Montreal Jazz Festival, Germany’s Open Strings Guitar Festival, Italy’s Soave Guitar Festival and hundreds of venues and Performing Arts Centers across the US and abroad.

Vicki was one of the featured artists on La Guitara, a CD featuring the world’s top female guitarists across all styles. She was also the first woman to win Guitar Player magazine’s Guitar Superstar Competition, after competing against nine other world-class players in front of celebrity judges.


Born and raised in Hawaii, Makana began singing when he was seven years old, took up ‘ukulele at nine and began learning the indigenous art of slack key guitar at eleven. A protégé of slack key guitar legends, including Bobby Moderow Jr. and the late master Uncle Sonny Chillingworth,Makana has dedicated his life to perpetuating as well as evolving the traditional Hawaiian art form of slack key guitar. From this tradition, Makana has evolved his own dynamic style, coined “Slack Rock”: slack key infused with elements of bluegrass, rock, blues and raga.

Makana’s guitar playing has been featured on three Grammy-nominated albums, including the soundtrack of the Academy-Award winning film “The Descendants“, starring George Clooney. In 2012, he was awarded one of Hawaii’s top musical honors: a Na Hoku Ki Ho’alu (Slack Key) Legacy Award (Hawaii’s “Grammy”) by the Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts. Makana has toured with or opened for acts such as Jason Mraz, Santana, Elvis Costello, Paul Rodgers, Sting, No Doubt, Jack Johnson, Chris Isaak, John Legend and more.


Larry Mitchell is a Grammy award-winning producer, engineer and performer who has toured the world playing guitar with well-known artists including Tracy Chapman, Billy Squier, Ric Ocasek and Miguel Bosé. In his original compositions, Larry skillfully weaves guitar textures that showcase his virtuosity as a solo artist and ensemble player.

As an artist, he has released 9 solo records and won a San Diego Music Award for best pop jazz artist. As a producer-engineer, Larry has won 26 New Mexico Music Awards in various categories from pop, adult contemporary, rap, rock, country and Native American. He won a Grammy Award for producing, engineering and performing on “Totemic Flute Chants” by artist Johnny Whitehorse, who is better known as Robert Mirabal of Taos Pueblo. Larry is currently touring with his own trio as well as with Native artists Shelley Morningsong, Dawn Avery, Joy Harjo and Robert Mirabal.


Joe Lamond is the president and CEO of NAMM, the National Association of Music Merchants, a global not-for-profit 501(c)(6) trade association representing more than 10,000 manufacturers and retailers of musical instruments and professional sound products. The association’s mission is to strengthen the music products industry and promote the pleasures and benefits of making music.

Since 2001, Lamond has led the talented team at NAMM to achieve this mission through what the association calls its “Circle of Benefits” business model, reinvesting the proceeds of its successful trade shows into grants, scholarships, scientific research, industry promotions, and public and government relations programs. These efforts have contributed to increased support for music education in our schools and greater awareness around the world of the benefits of active music making for people of all ages.


GRAMMY® winning guitarist Laurence Juber is a solo performer, recording artist, composer and arranger. His playing fuses folk, jazz, blues, pop and classical styles, creating a multi-faceted performance that belies the use of only one instrument.  A music graduate of London’s Goldsmith’s College, he was featured guitar soloist with the National Youth Jazz Orchestra before becoming established as a studio musician in the mid-1970’s. First internationally recognized as lead guitarist in Beatle Paul McCartney’s Wings, with whom he won a Grammy, Juber has since established himself as world-renowned guitar virtuoso and entertainer.

Known to his fans as LJ,  he has recorded more than two dozen albums spotlighting his unique touch and tone on acoustic guitar.


Singer, songwriter and renowned fingerstyle guitarist Christie Lenée is more than a musician–she’s an experience. Symphonic compositions flow from her fingertips effortlessly, with sound ranging from transcendental folk-pop to virtuosic instrumentals. Her recent title of Acoustic Guitarist of the Year 2019 awarded by Music RadarMagazine out of the UK, has launched Christie’s career towards international stardom. Christie is often described as ‘Michael Hedges meets Joni Mitchell and Dave Matthews,” integrating melodic pop lyrics with catchy hooks and percussive, harmonic textures.  Christie Lenée performs with radiant joy that awes crowds and inspires fellow musicians.


One of the most prolific and original finger-style guitarists of his generation, Stephen Bennett is also a leading exponent of the harp guitar. A challenging teacher, a gifted composer, and a performer of “great sensitivity”, the Toronto Finger-Style Guitar Association referred to him as “the Jedi Master of Finger-style Guitar”.

Stephen has performed around the world, shared the stage with some of the finest guitarists there are, and created a well-regarded body of work.

He is the founder of the Harp Guitar Gathering, an annual event that brings players, luthiers, scholars and fans of this instrument together for a weekend of performances, workshops and camaraderie.  Whatever guitar he happens to be playing, in live performance or on recordings, Stephen’s life-long love affair with the sound of guitar strings is apparent – and contagious!


Andrew York is one of today’s best loved composers for classical guitar and a performer of international stature. His compositions blend the styles of ancient eras with modern musical directions, creating music that is at once vital, multi-leveled and accessible. Andrew received a GRAMMY as a member of the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet during his sixteen years with the cutting-edge ensemble.

York’s compositions have been featured on GRAMMY-winning recordings by Jason Vieaux (CD “Play”, featuring Andrew’s iconic composition “Sunburst”, 2015) and Sharon Isbin (CD “Journey to the New World” featuring “Andecy”, 2010). In 2006 Andrew recorded and performed with the Atlanta Symphony for the opera “Ainadamar” by Osvaldo Golijov. The recording of “Ainadamar” (Deutsche Gramophone) won two GRAMMY awards.

Andrew has released CDs on Sony-U.S., Sony-Japan, King Records (Japan), Telarc, GSP and Delos labels, as well as inclusion on Rhino Records “Legends of Guitar” and numerous other compilations. Andrew’s 2010 CD release “Centerpeace” offers individual collaborations with guitarist Andy Summers, and pianists Mitsuko Kado and Allaudin Mathieu.


Peter Sprague is a jazz guitarist, record producer, audio engineer and multi-award winning composer and performing artist. Born in Cleveland, Ohio, he grew up in Del Mar, California, where he fell in love with surfing. Although his parents were jazz fans, he was more interested in the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, and Crosby, Stills, and Nash when he picked up the guitar at age twelve. Three years later, he paid more attention to his parents’ jazz collection and began taking guitar lessons. He formed the Minor Jazz Quintet with his brother Tripp and three other musicians. He attended San Dieguito High School in Encinitas and Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan.

Peter invented a twin-neck guitar with one neck from a classical guitar and one from a steel-string acoustic guitar and is known for his sensitive, agile and tasteful phrasing and remarkable collaborations. Peter has played with Chick Corea, Hubert Laws, Larry Coryell, David Benoit, and Sergio Mendes, has produced or played on over 190 recordings, and has published several music books. His plays sold out shows in his hometown of San Diego, and often performs with his longtime musical partner and close friend, Fred Benedetti.


Fred Benedetti was born in Sasebo, Japan, and began playing the guitar at the age of 9.

In 1986 he was one of the 12 guitarists chosen worldwide to perform in the Master Class of Andres Segovia at USC where Guitarra Magazine wrote “..Fred Benedetti amazed the audience with his performance of the Bach Chaconne …”

Fred has performed in the United States, England, Germany, the Czech Republic, Canada, Taiwan and Mexico. Equally at home playing classical music or contemporary music, he records on the SBE label and Domo Records with five noted ensembles: Camarada (chamber ensemble), Keltik Kharma (a celtic band), The Odeum Guitar Duo, given the honor by the magazine, Acoustic Guitar, as being one of the ten best independently produced guitar CDs for the year 2000, “Blurring the Edges” a recipient of the 1994 San Diego Music Awards “Best Pop-Jazz” album of the year featuring jazz musicians Peter,Tripp, and Hall Sprague, and the acclaimed Benedetti/Svoboda Guitar Duo. As a BMI affiliated composer, Fred has written numerous contemporary pieces for the international CD library company Network Productions and as a studio musician for 20 years his playing is featured on over 100 CD’s, numerous movie soundtracks, and TV commercials.


“I live and breathe music.”

Rory Block

Rory Block may not see herself the way her fans, the music world, and the press view her career. But seminal Blues guitarist Robert Johnson’s grandson Greg Johnson says, “When I hear Rory Block’s music, it’s as if my grandfather is here all over again.” Rolling Stone Magazine credited her with recording “some of the most singular and affecting Country Blues anyone, man or woman, black or white, old or young, has cut in recent years.”

In a career that has thus far produced 36 albums, six Blues Music Awards, and numerous world tours, Rory Block’s fabled odyssey finds her at the absolute height of her talents, and at the top of the touring world, while at the same time living life as a music producer, author,  ordained minister (she refers to it as “Preaching the Blues”), a music producer, festival promoter, mother, wife and friend to thousands at her ChurchLIVE venue in rural Chatham, New York.

The Blues Foundation wrote “Today she is widely regarded as the top female interpreter and authority on traditional country blues worldwide.” It can easily be said that she is the best acoustic blues artist performing today, having been nominated in January 2020 for the Blues Foundation’s prestigious Koko Taylor Award as Traditional Female Blues Artist, coming off a 2019 award for the Acoustic Artist of The Year.


Alex de Grassi (born February 13, 1952) is an American fingerstyle guitarist.[1] Tom Wheeler wrote in Guitar Player magazine that his technique is “the kind that shoves fellow pickers to the cliff of decision: should I practice like a madman or chuck it altogether?”[2] De Grassi was invited by his cousin William Ackerman to join the Windham Hill label and became one of the label’s best sellers.

Alex de Grassi’s innovative approach to composing and arranging for solo steel-string guitar has influenced a generation of younger players. From his first solo performances in university coffeehouses and as a street musician to his engagements at prestigious venues including Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, and the Montreux Jazz Festival, Alex has followed his own vision and helped lay the foundation for contemporary fingerstyle guitar. Inspired by American and British Isles folk and blues artists in his early teens,

Alex’s musical pursuits soon expanded to encompass classical, jazz, and world music. He has since become known for his evocative compositions and arrangements, and for his sheer virtuosity. Using a broad palette of techniques and timbre in conjunction with his ability to weave together melody, counter-melody, bass, harmony, and rhythm into a highly orchestrated canvas of sound, Alex’s performances take the listener well beyond the instrument. The Wall Street Journal has called his playing “flawless” and Billboard hails his “intricate finger-picking technique with an uncanny gift for melodic invention.”


Stanley Jordan was born in Chicago, Illinois, and grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. He began his music career at age six studying piano, then shifting his focus to guitar at age eleven. He then began playing in rock and soul bands. … While still at Princeton, Jordan performed with Benny Carter and Dizzy Gillespie. 

In a career that took flight in 1985 with commercial and critical acclaim, guitar virtuoso Stanley Jordan has consistently displayed a chameleonic musical persona of openness, imagination, versatility and maverick daring. Be it bold reinventions of classical masterpieces or soulful explorations through pop-rock hits, to blazing straight ahead jazz forays and ultramodern improvisational works—solo or with a group—Jordan can always be counted on to take listeners on breathless journeys into the unexpected.

Key to Jordan’s fast-track acclaim was his mastery of a special technique on the guitar’s fretboard. Instead of conventional strumming and picking, Jordan’s innovative “touch technique” is an advanced form of two-handed tapping. While a handful of other players were using similar techniques, Stanley’s fluid, multi-layered textures and sheer virtuosity raised the bar for excellence. But his technique, though impressive, is always a means to a musical end.

Jordan has received four GRAMMY® nominations. His most recent album “Friends” was nominated for an NAACP Image Award. Los Angeles Times jazz critic Leonard Feather wrote, “Genius is a word often tossed around in musical circles, but it has been rightfully applied to Stanley Jordan.”


David Broza is an internationally renowned Israeli singer-songwriter, recognized for his dynamic guitar performances and humanitarian efforts. His signature sound brings together the influence of Spanish flamenco, American folk, rock and roll, and poetry. Social justice and peace advocacy are embedded in Broza’s work; his 1977 hit song “Yihye Tov” remains an Israeli peace anthem. With over 40 albums released, many of which are multiplatinum, in English, Hebrew, and Spanish, Broza continues to tour globally both as a solo musician and with his various musical projects.

He has just released his first entirely instrumental album, titled en Casa Limón, produced by Javier Limón (Paco de Lucia, Buika, Cigala). A modern tribute to the art of Spanish guitar, the album blends elements of flamenco, baroque, swing, and classical music with unparalleled grace. It is scheduled for release by S-Curve Records (BMG) in June 2020.

At the core of his social justice work is the belief that music is a platform for dialogue and tolerance.  David  is the founder of the non-profit One Million Guitars, which gives underprivileged school children around the world hand-crafted guitars and the foundation of a musical education.  He has contributed 300 guitars to Guitars in the Classroom for use in high poverty classrooms.

Door prize from Sam Ash Music– Triad Port Acoustic-Electric Guitar. Winner, drawn at random from all registrants is Tish Denevan. Congratulations!

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