During September, Entrada del Oro resident Barbara Cox donated her Alvarez guitar and accessories to a most-deserving student, Riley Neumann, a participant of the Lead Guitar program at Apache Junction High School.
Cox began her musical career as a pianist and organist, playing sacred music throughout Ohio churches. With her talent, she became a charter member of the National Pastoral Musicians Association. However, as sacred music evolved to a folk genre, Cox bought her Alvarez guitar, took lessons and formed a successful folk group called the “Holy Smokes.” After seven years and a relocation, she returned to the keyboards, eventually moved to our East Valley, but always kept her precious Alvarez guitar.
After Cox read about the Gold Canyon Art Council’s donations of instruments and lessons in local schools, she expressed a desire to donate the guitar.
Ray Cunningham, GCAC’s Lead Guitar liaison, was then contacted. Cunningham called Karl Hermann, AJHS band director, about the donation. Hermann was elated and immediately suggested giving it to Neumann.
The Gold Canyon Arts Council sponsors five concerts each season featuring diverse professional artists. The contracted artists for each concert agree to conduct workshops, masterclasses and performances in local schools in addition to their public concert, typically at five to 10 schools.
The arts council and Lead Guitar, both non-profits, co-sponsor eight teaching programs at elementary and secondary schools along the Old West Highway, from Apache Junction to the San Carlos Apache Reservation. Student participants are taught how to read music and play the guitar throughout the entire school year.
Editor’s note: Chuck Cuffaro is in charge of publicity for the Gold Canyon Arts Council. Go to goldcanyonarts.org.