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Happy Valley Guitar Orchestra

41 Valley Street
Northampton, MA 01060

Founded in 2009 by musical director Peter Blanchette, HVGO is a true avant-garde orchestra, comprised of twenty talented, enthusiastic, acoustic and electric guitarists from widely varied traditions. HVGO creates new and beautiful music that could only come from such an eclectic melange, inspiring musicians to work together who might otherwise never collaborate. HVGO captivates audiences with music of significant contemporary and legacy composers whose works Blanchette has arranged to exploit the unique tonal characteristics and strengths of the ensemble. HVGO is a resident performance group at the Northampton Center for the Arts.
In 2017 HVGO renews its commitment to our "Target Holyoke" intiative. HVGO, its Artistic Director, Peter Blanchette and its Assistant Director, Joseph Ricker partner with Holyoke Summer Strings - a 30 year old and growing program that offers instruction in violin, viola, and cello - to offer Holyoke elementary school students free, introductory guitar ensemble classes. HVGO will provide the students nylon string guitars, and Ricker teaches daily ensemble classes to students in the basics of classical guitar, as well as more advanced classes for children who participated in the program last year, or who already have fundamentals. Further, HVGO players provide an invaluable role as classroom assistants. In order to match the culture and skill level of the students, Blanchette and Ricker have developed a simple curriculum that includes arrangement of pop music and traditional Puerto Rican children's songs. And, in the more advanced classes to the older students, Ricker will introduce new music like that of composer Philip Glass, which Blanchette has arranged for guitar orchestra. With the guitar as the ubiquitous instrument of popular culture, HVGO has the power to engage and expand these students' artistic capacity with music they may have never considered relevant or beautiful. This, along with HVGO's community performances, promotes the mission of HVGO to introduce new music to audiences, and to educate young people who will become the audiences of the future. Your contribution through Valley Gives will help fund this important project to nurture the HVGO mission!
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