Sacramento Guitar Society: Striking Chords with the Community
Oct 30, 2017 11:46AM
● By Ray Burgess
Coming to the Folsom-based Sacramento Guitar Society (SGS) last fall as a grant writer eager to further the organization’s mission, Lili Williams is now the nonprofits’s succeeding president. SGS, which has roots back to the early ’60s, has a volunteer board of directors that centers around celebrating and sharing classical and experimental guitar music to all. You can see SGS in action on November 19, December 17 and February 18 at the E. Claire Raley Studios for the Performing Arts (The Clara) in Sacramento, or at the Harris Center on March 17 for An Evening with Alex De Grassi and Andrew York.
HLB: What does SGS’ mission mean to you?
RT: The SGS works hard to bring world-class guitar artists to Sacramento’s guitar-loving patrons, but the charitable portion of our mission is to help enrich the lives of disadvantaged children through music education. While I personally love attending classical and flamenco guitar concerts, the educational component of our mission is what compelled me to volunteer my time.
HLB: Are you a musician yourself?
LW: Throughout my life, I always dabbled in various instru-ments, not really mastering any. However, when I was 21 years old I witnessed a group of [young children] attending a Suzuki conference. It was then when I became committed to the idea that someday my own children would pursue music at a young age. Rolling forward nearly 30 years and three musical children later, I’ve realized that I could do for disadvantaged children what I did for my own. Music changed their lives, and I believe it can change the lives of other kids who may not have access to musical education. Giving children the skills to play an instrument gives them confidence in many other parts of their lives, including academics.
HLB: How can readers get involved with SGS?
LW: They can become a member (one doesn’t need to be a guitar player, just a guitar-music enthusiast), make a monetary or guitar donation, attend our major concerts or our free monthly meeting featuring local musicians in intimate settings, join the Guitar Orchestra, become a business sponsor, join the board of directors, or get on our mailing list.
HLB: What are SGS’s future goals?
LW: Artistic Director Daniel Roest will continue to focus on bringing world-class concerts to our region. My focus is to grow the organization, [so it becomes] known by the community as a leading nonprofit that’s focused on changing the lives of young people through music. We’re currently working on getting SGS classes as course offerings at various local recreation and parks departments. This fall, we started having classes in Rancho Cordova and Carmichael. I’m also working on getting grant funding to offer guitar classes to foster youth, giving them the one thing that will remain a constant in their lives—music. Other exploratory endeavors include sponsoring a chapter of a national program called Guitars not Guns, which brings guitar music to at-risk youth. We hope to inspire children to consider music not just as a hobby but also as a profession.
by Heather L. Becker // photos by DANTE FONTANA