The Youngstown State University Dana Guitar Association is making the promotion and awareness of talented individuals who play classical and jazz guitar its main rift. By bringing underground art to the surface, the group crescendos toward success.
The Dana Guitar Association is a nonprofit organization run by students, and its mission is simple: bring classical and jazz guitar to the people of Youngstown, Northeastern Ohio, and Western Pennsylvania. The association hosts free concerts, guitar clinics and master classes that allow students and community members to immerse themselves in the art of classic guitar.
Christopher Mrofchak, president of the Dana Guitar Association, said that joining the group his freshman year was a decision that impacted his following years at YSU by giving him opportunities he would not have otherwise.
“When I was a freshman, the Dana Guitar Association hosted the Guitar Foundation of America international artist competition winner, Gabriel Bianco. Mr. Bianco’s concert absolutely astounded me. Until that moment, I believe that I was unaware of what the classical guitar was capable of accomplishing in terms of musicality and expression,” Mrofchak said. “It has had a profound impact on the rest of my undergraduate experience.”
Phillip Monrean, vice president of the Dana Guitar Association said that for the three years he has been involved with the group, he has gotten to experience many things that would not have occurred had he not joined.
“The Dana Guitar Association brings in world-class musicians each year, and I feel that being around them is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn and grow,” Monrean said.
The 2013-14 concert season does not fall short of the group’s high standards and boasts a winning arrangement of artists on campus.
On Monday, students and several Dana guitar groups jammed in a two-hour master class with Dan Wilson, a YSU alumnus from Akron, Ohio who received his bachelor’s degree in Music and Liberal Studies from Hiram College. Wilson teaches jazz guitar and improvisation at Cuyahoga Community College and leads a group of musicians from the northeast Ohio and Pittsburgh area. Tracks from “To Whom it May Concern” — Wilson’s CD — can be purchased on cdbaby.com.
The group also hosted classical guitarist Jeffrey McFadden of the University of Toronto in Canada for a recital on Nov. 15 and a guest artist master class on Nov. 16. McFadden has been a featured performer at international music festivals and was awarded a silver medal in the Guitar Foundation of America Competition in 1992.
In the spring, in addition to Dana Guitar Studio in Recital events, the Dana Guitar Association will be presenting a guitar clinic/ master class by jazz guitarist Bruce Saunders from the Berklee College of Music in Boston and the University of Texas-Austin. The group will also present a recital and master class by classical guitarist Andrew Zohn from Columbus State University in Georgia.
Two of the group’s students, Mrofchak and Benjamin Dague, have been chosen to play in master classes alongside classical guitarists Manuel Barrueco and David Russell to showcase their talents.
Many of these events are expensive, but the group has many loyal sponsors that help fund some of its master classes, concerts, showcases and travel expenses.
Francis Fowler, the Dana Guitar Association adviser, said that the YSU Student Government Association has been extremely supportive of the group in the difficult economic times.
“The Student Government Association and YSU students’ organizations are very important to YSU students’ undergraduate experience,” Fowler said, “and I hope that YSU continues to support these important student endeavors and community outreach
Dana Guitar Association meetings take place on the last Friday of every month at 2 p.m. in Bliss Hall. More information on events the group will host can be found at www.danaguitarassociation.org.