Here are three special photographs with three special stories. 

1) William Flores graduated from our McCallum High School guitar program in 2008. This photograph was taken that spring by David Tietz of Editorial Image during a multi-school performance ACG hosted at the Mexican American Cultural Center. William left high school and went directly into the US Army Band as a guitarist, where he would serve for the next twelve years. In 2021, William returned to Austin, reached out to ACG, and asked to give back. He is now a member of the ACG Board of Directors. 

2) Pilar Andujar is an inspiring flamenco dancer who frequently traveled to Austin from her home in Spain. After inaugurating our FlamencoAustin series in 2011, we began partnering with Pilar for performances large and small. Here she is, photographed by Arlen Nydam, dancing outside The Long Center in 2013 before the Niño de Pura troupe performed their US debut in Dell Hall.

Here’s a taste of Pilar’s amazing talent, from a show we produced in a downtown Austin loft in 2015. Enjoy!

3) Edward Kimball is a longtime member of our ACG Community Ensemble. He wrote this letter about guitar and horses:

Every Tuesday morning I go out to a place called Healing With Horses Ranch in Manor, TX.  HWHR helps children and adults with a wide variety of physical and emotional afflictions.  Its services are free for military veterans like me, and the rest pay fees.  

Along with ACG, visiting HWHR is what I’ve been doing to cope with my chronic ankle pain & surgery recovery, hearing disability and struggles with major depressive disorder.  We all must figure out ways to compensate for the genetic hand we’ve been dealt.

Because of my previous experience with horses, my instructors steered me into more refined aspects of horsemanship. Sort of like the difference between the folk-song strumming most of us did “back in the day,” and learning classical guitar. 

I’ve been kicked, bitten, bucked off and fallen with a horse. I’ve trained a few, and ended up being trained by them.  Obviously I love horses.  Most of them read human emotions better than humans.  

For some strange reason I don’t understand, while at home working on solo pieces on guitar, thinking about phrasing, my mind will wander, sometimes reflecting on things instructors said to me that week about handling horses.  I guess what I’m trying to say is that the subtle details of classical guitar, and the nuances of horsemanship, have much in common.  

I’ve been going to Healing With Horses Ranch since 2017. I’ve been involved with Austin Classical Guitar since 2010. To cut to the chase, as they say, the experiences have begun to meld.  

From my two instructors at HWHR, Crystal & Libby, I’ve been taught “nuance,” subtle positioning of body parts while riding, as well as connecting and communicating with the horse while on the ground. Meanwhile, as a member of ACG Community Guitarist Ensembles, I’ve been learning “nuance” from Carlos, Eric, and now Tony, as well as fellow members of our groups.