Appalachian Guitar Orchestra Concert Rescheduled - Date TBA

Appalachian Guitar Orchestra Concert Rescheduled - Date TBA

By Lisl Doughton

[Edited Nov. 23, 2020] The Appalachian Guitar Orchestra broadcast will be rescheduled to a later date. This article and our Hayes School of Music Facebook page will be updated once the new date is set. In the meantime, you can hear the orchestra perform the piece Earth Song on the Virtual Guitar Orchestra web page.


The Appalachian Guitar Orchestra at the Hayes School of Music will broadcast their virtual concert on the Hayes School of Music Performances page. The 27 guitarists of the orchestra, coached by Dr. Douglas James, Professor of Guitar, will present a program including many Celtic pieces as well as a range of classical guitar music and orchestral arrangements. 

The members of the ensemble include music majors, music minors, and students from other degree areas who have an interest in music. Each piece is divided up into parts, sometimes as many as nine parts played simultaneously, with one guitarist on a part. 

Due to COVID-19 precautions, the guitarists did not meet in person, but recorded their parts separately, sometimes with accompanying video. "These recordings are a snapshot of the situation we're in right now - seeing students in masks, students in their rooms,” says Dr. James. The ensemble found creative ways to collaborate on an orchestral experience. 

To sync up with their fellow musicians up over time and distance, the guitarists listened to click tracks on headphones while recording their parts. On some pieces, Dr. James “conducted” virtually by creating click tracks with his spoken cues at important junctures, much as one might hear in a live orchestra rehearsal.  Some pieces were recorded along with enhanced click tracks created in Finale music notation software in which the guitarists could also hear pitches as reference.

Students and alumni from the Music Industry Studies program at the Hayes School of Music mixed the recordings, adjusting the balance to create a unified sound for the virtual orchestral performance.

Using similar recording techniques, the Appalachian Guitar Orchestra participated in the Aaron Shearer Foundation’s Virtual Guitar Orchestra project on the piece Earth Song, which can be heard on the Virtual Guitar Orchestra web page. For this project the Hayes School of Music joins musicians all over the world in embracing new ways to share their art. 

To hear and see the Appalachian Guitar Orchestra’s program, tune in to the Hayes School of Music Performances page. This article and our Facebook page will be updated once the new date is determined.

Members of the Appalachian Guitar Orchestra play onstage.
Published: Nov 16, 2020 5:10pm