Reviews for the
West Coast Guitar Societies Roundtable 
Saturday, April 16, 2011, Sacramento, CA
A Conference for Existing and
Planned Guitar Societies Led by
Dr. Matthew Hinsley 
Executive Director, Austin Classical Guitar Society, 
Classical Guitarist, Educator, Arts Administrator

"On behalf of the Guitar Foundation of America, I would like to congratulate the West Coast Guitar Societies 2011 Roundtable for their visionary work in aggregating such a formidable collection of guitar societies and entrepreneurs of the classical guitar.  It is through such collaborations that we will strengthen and transform our ability to bring the art of the classical guitar to every corner of the country and the world.  Between the tireless organizers led by Daniel Roest; your keynote presenter, the extraordinary Austin Guitar Society Executive Director and GFA Board Member, Matthew Hinsley; your generous sponsors; and the brilliant array of performing talent; your event is one of the high points of this year in the classical guitar.  Bravo to everyone involved!  And we hope to see all of you in Columbus, Georgia, for this year's International Convention and Competition beginning June 28!
With great admiration, Brian Head, Artistic Director, Guitar Foundation of America"

"Playing at the West Coast Guitar Societies Roundtable was a wonderful experience.  I learned a lot about how the classical guitar community functions at the professional level - both from the perspective of a performer and on the promotional end of things.  While the information was incredibly practical and of great value, there was also an enthusiasm and love for the instrument and its repertoire which exceeded even my expectations.  By the end of the day, I felt like I had played for a group of friends." -Jon Mendle, Showcase Artist

"Kudos to you and your group for hosting such a terrific, well attended event. No doubt the classical guitar movement throughout the West Coast will be blossoming as the impact of Matt's ideas ripples out. Thanks for including us in the events and for your efforts to engage the larger arts community at Urban Hive. Yours, Deborah" -Deborah Edward, Ph.D., Project Manager, For Arts' Sake Sacramento

"What an amazing and densely packed on-target session! Thanks for pulling all the pieces together for a most rewarding experience. In the days since the Roundtable, we have had numerous conversations reflecting on ideas presented by Matt and music offer by your performing artist line-up.
As you know, we have scheduled Gohar Vardanyan to perform for us on Sat Sep 17. It was an easy and unanimous decision."Tom Ingalz, South Bay Guitar Society

"Thanks so much for inviting me to the conference in Sacramento. It was like so many events of guitar societies; a great opportunity for me to present my instruments, make contacts, see friends, hear new talent. Your work and efforts over so many years for the guitar cause are really amazing, bravo! I hope to see you soon, Gil" -Gil Carnal, Luthier

"I attended the West Coast Guitar Societies Roundtable April 16th. The event was an all day seminar on how to build and sustain a successful nonprofit organization. Daniel Roest and the Sacramento Guitar Society hosted this well attended event which was held at the modern and beautiful Christ Community Church in Carmicheal, CA. Dr. Hinsley spent the day relating the various strategies he has employed in fundraising, organisation building and developing an audience. The wealth of ideas Matt presented was truly inspiring and his book on this subject will be a great benefit to presenters and artists everywhere. 
In addition to Dr. Hinsley's presentation the day featured performances by several up and coming guitarists, luthier displays and a talk by David Lusterman of Acoustic Guitar magazine on the subject of commercial sponsors. The evening featured a double recital by Jesse McCann and Gorhar Vardanyan and the awarding of door prizes including a nice student guitar donated by Guitar Salon International. 
My congratulations to Daniel Roest, Steve Roberts and the Sacramento Guitar Society for hosting this event."-Craig Logan, Great Basin Guitar Society

"Thanks again for the awesome opportunity, it was a grand time for sure!"
Matthew Lyons, Showcase Artist 

"Daniel and his team have done a tremendous job this weekend and the responses from everyone I've talked to have been overwhelmingly positive and energized.  There were a number a different groups represented yesterday and it seemed like everyone was engaged, asking tons of great questions and (hopefully) even getting some good answers from the moderator! 
...most importantly, they have put in motion here the groundwork going forward for these various community organizers to work together, gather strength and ideas from one another, and find strength in their unity of purpose." 
Dr. Matthew Hinsley, West Coast Guitar Societies Roundtable Main Speaker

"Daniel, Both Tanya and I want to thank you for including us in the Roundtable and for supporting our business and plugging the quality of photos that we produce.  We really enjoyed the day, made a number of promising contacts and had an opportunity to hear some really inspiring young performers.  Additionally, I picked up some valuable tips from the main speaker, Dr. Matthew Hinsley.  I also had an opportunity to talk to several of the performers, who displayed an impressive maturity. You did a first rate job of setting up this roundtable and keeping it moving on schedule.  I’m sure everyone came away with something positive from the day. Thank you again for your kindness and support."  
James P. Banach, Client Consultant, Aurora Portraits, Inc.

"Daniel, thank you so much for inviting me to perform at the WCGSR. It was such a valuable performance opportunity and a great place to meet people who are as passionate about the guitar as I am. The presentation by Matthew Hinsely not only provided valuable information to aspiring guitar societies, it also provided me with a lot of advice and insights on how to navigate the music business by developing relationships, in general. That information is valuable to musicians of all types. Thanks again for this wonderful experience!" -Ray Zhou, Showcase Artist

"Daniel, What an absolute pleasure it was for me to attend such a unique and helpful event. How wonderful it was to meet and interact with so many "kindred spirits," who share the same goal and passion, of creating greater visibility for the classical guitar and enhancing its image in the larger musical community. I hope that some day, looking back, we will regard this event as the beginning of an revival of sorts of classical guitar in our area.  
The performances of the guest artists were better than I expected, and the videos turned out extremely well. I look forward to creating wonderful DVD/CD combo packs for each of them, which hopefully will mark the beginning of many future collaborations.  
Matthew Hinsley was knowledgeable and engaging as a speaker, and I especially appreciated his approach of expanding beyond the confines of the very small classical guitar community and reaching out to non-guitar world by incorporating community service into our mission and vision for the future. 
Congratulations, Daniel, on the splendid job you did with this very ambitious undertaking."
-Richard GoyetteGoyette Guitar Center and Goyette Video Productions

Daniel, Wow! Congratulations on a blowout event! I was truly impressed with the roundtable, both in concept and flawless execution. That’s what comes of having imaginative leadership, planning and close attention to details. Matt Hinsley was an inspired choice day with his five talks. I had the opportunity to talk with him at some length earlier in the day. Again, I can’t use enough superlatives to compliment both you and Steve. I appreciate that not only did it take imagination but also a lot of hard work to make it come off." -Dan RooneySacramento Guitar Society Legal Counsel

"Hello Daniel: Thanks for this, and for all the vision and labor that went in to what was clearly a successful event. On balance it all seemed about right, though we should do two days next time - w/ paid staff of course! I especially appreciate your efforts to keep the schedule moving and as close as possible to the published pace. This is a critical service when the event program is so diverse and varied. The breaks were welcome, the next subject was welcome, and insertion of brief performances by regional players was a really a smart move. In addition to the valuable player experience and exposure, each music program helped me reset my mind to the next business subject. We'll talk again soon, but for now know you and your event are valued and appreciated."
-Roger Cope, Lecturer, Music Studio Faculty/Guitar, California State University, Bakersfield, CSU Bakersfield Guitar Arts Concert Series 

"The West Coast Guitar Societies Roundtable 2011 provided an excellent starting point for education and collaboration between our various organizations. It was great to meet leaders from the West Coast I haven't seen for a while and to make new friends. And it was great to see many of the young performers we have championed at Sierra Nevada Guitar Society go on to greater opportunities. In the future I would like to see more time for discussion by attendees, many of whom could present their own seminars, and involvement by other organizations such as state arts agencies who can provide a great deal of similar education and support for growing organizations. Congratulations to Daniel Roest and Matthew Hinsley for getting the ball rolling, or should I say, getting the apoyando striking!"
Larry Aynesmith, Founder and Artistic Director, Sierra Nevada Guitar Society

"Hi Daniel, Just wanted to say 'Thanks' for putting on such a Great Seminar - very informative and a lot of fun. Best Regards," -Ed Hansen, North Bay Guitar Society

"Daniel, I want to reiterate my gratitude to you for the opportunity to be a beneficiary of the hard work you put into orchestrating such a nice weekend. I enjoyed meeting others who are passionate about the art-form & look forward to seeing many good things grow out of the soil that was cultivated thanks to your efforts amongst the guitar community. Well done Daniel! All the best, Michael"
-Michael Sean Miller, WCGSR Volunteer

"The 2011 West Coast Guitar Societies Roundtable conference was eye-opening. It really made me aware of how much is possible. The classical guitar is often seen as a limited instrument with a limited audience, but that was revealed as insecurity on the part of guitar players. So many people play the guitar that it has built in interest, but also built in competition and ubiquity. Seeing the success of the Austin Guitar Society really dispelled any notions on my part that the guitar is the poor relation of the classical music world. Instead I feel inspired to seek out my audience, not just of fellow guitarists, but also the wider community of music lovers, students, and casual concert-goers.  Thanks for the great information, as well as the inspiring concerts that really showcased the wide variety of instruments and repertoire, including multi-string guitarists as well as original compositions." -Nick Vest, North Coast Guitar Society

"Hi Daniel, Thanks for your hard work putting together the Roundup. Your planning was flawless and the program was terrific; I loved the recitals interspersed through the day. The venue was excellent! I enjoyed Matthew Hinsley's lively lectures about his experiences in Austin and I was inspired by David Lusterman's chalk talk about community and responsibility. Every performance was great! I particularly appreciated your thoughtful introductions and attentiveness to schedule. I believe this is the beginning of something. Don" -Don HuntleySouth Bay Guitar Society 

"Daniel-- I am glad so many of the participants benefited from the Roundtable. I hope the collaboration doesn't end with this event. We need to continue to work together by offering administrative support, training and assistance to each other, finding (and sharing) new and innovative ways to raise money for arts education, and promoting artists (and art form) through affordable concerts in our communities. I guess what I am saying is maybe we should do this again in the future!" -Steve RobertsSacramento Guitar Society

"The Roundtable was great first step toward developing collaboration among area guitar societies. All of us need each others contact information so that we can begin to share information on artists, sponsors and infrastructure. Saturday's presentations by Dr. Matthew Hinsley was very informative and helpful. David Lusterman made us aware of who was in attendance what and how we might work together. Again, congratulations on putting this event together! I know that Daniel Roest, Steve Roberts and Sacramento Guitar Society Board members worked hard on this project."  
-Jerry Snyder, President/Artistic Director, South Bay Guitar Society 

"Dear Daniel, Thank you very much for organizing the Round Table event - I enjoyed it very much, both Mathew's presentation and [the] mini performances. Very important issues were discussed and many questions got answered.  I believe once I share all the materials with the Board members, it will give a boost of energy to VCGS and eventually brings our young Society to a new level. One of the ideas discussed at one of the sessions was the necessity of collaboration between guitar societies, for example in bringing artists. What are your thoughts on this subject? 
It was nice to meet you. Cheers"
 -Galina Jitlina, Program Director, Vancouver Classic Guitar Society

"Hi Daniel, Saturday was great, I got a business refresher course listing to Matthew. Great work!" 
-Waylin Carpenter, Luthier

West Coast Guitar Societies Roundtable Fires Up Classical Guitar Community
By Daniel Roest, Sacramento Guitar Society President and Conference Director

The Sacramento Guitar Society hosted a gathering of western guitar societies April 16th 2011, led by the most capable person in the country to do so – Dr. Matthew Hinsley, Executive Director of the Austin Classical Guitar Society in Austin, Texas. The West Coast Guitar Societies Roundtable was conceived after I met Dr. Hinsley at the 2008 Guitar Foundation of America Festival and Competition in San Francisco. In Matt Hinsley I met such talent, inspiration and positive energy that I knew we in Sacramento had to get him to consult for us. 

With huge help from my board, particularly Secretary-Treasurer Steve Roberts, the inclusion of as many voices representing guitar societies began – whether they were robust, developed ones like the South Bay Guitar Society, dormant societies like the North Bay Guitar Society, and dreams, like the North Coast Guitar Society. I was particularly keen to have Matt answer questions from unfunded individuals who needed a roadmap – and what a roadmap, indeed! Hinsley is the author of the recently released Creativity to Community – Arts Nonprofit Success One Coffee at a Time.

From Vancouver B.C. to California, guitar society boards came and not only drank in the wealth of material provided, but asked questions they needed help with and got showcase performances by rising concert artists – Arina BurcévaJon MendleRay Zhou, and Matt Lyons, showing the kind of outstanding concert talent available to them without the artist fees beyond reach.

Of prime importance to Steve Roberts and me was securing sponsorship, and Acoustic Guitar Magazine Publisher David A. Lusterman came through in a big way, promising both a significant contribution and an article on the topic. Guitar Salon International donated a terrific cedar top classical guitar for the evening concert raffle. A local photographer was engaged to document the day, luthiers brought their instruments and the whole event was recorded on for a DVD by Richard Goyette.

A marvelous aspect of the conference was the bringing together of such different stakeholders in classical guitar: both online sales interests and local retailers, high-end luthiers and Chinese importers, amateur players and seasoned professionals, guitar majors from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and the people who would hire them to perform on concert, photographers and a videographer and their prospective clients. Apparently the event was quite the success, as evidenced by the after-event reviews. 

If you are in need of inspiration for your guitar society or the guitar scene in your area, watch for the Acoustic Guitar Magazine feature later this year, and pick up a copy of Matt Hinsley’s book. As for myself and my team, we couldn’t be happier with the results. We owe a huge thanks to all the participants and sponsors. Bravo!


One way to go in building a guitar society doesn't require memberships, officers, noprofit status or the like. The following information supplements the VCCGS website information and comes from Jean
Some tidbits you won't find in the "who we are" page but might be important if a club wants to copy what we have done.....  
I think one of the critical factors to our success is not having to worry about money.  Thus we don't have to charge for memberships or for admission to our concerts.  Don't need a treasurer, don't need a bank account.  I don't know who to credit for this, but the way it works is that we have a contract with the parks department to provide a certain number of free concerts for the community in exchange for use of the meeting space - not fancy, but adequate for our needs.  Because we meet monthly (except December) we more than exceed our contribution to the community.  At the end of the concert we pass a basket and always remind people that we keep nothing - it all goes to the performer.  We also encourage the performer to sell CD or whatever if they want.
Because we don't have members, we don't have to have officers and all that stuff.  Of course, there is a core group who keeps it going, but it is a labor of love and no one feels overworked.  We feel free to ask other regulars for help if we need it and people are always willing to pitch in.  I think people shy away from the commitment of an office, but are glad to help spur of the moment.  The core group that keeps us going include Gail and her husband.  Gail was one of the founders and did probably most of the work for many years, but she is good at asking someone with a talent to lend a hand.  Gail makes sure the ads are printed and posted locally and in the local papers each month.   She and her husband are there early to be sure the room is open and they used to set up our little "stage."  Now the parks dept sets up their stage, and they also do chair set-up, etc.   
We have John who takes the photos, audio and keeps up the website.  That is a critical job because this is what both performers and audience see and where they get the first impression of our group.  It is important that the website is always up to date, then people come back frequently to see what's new.
A few years ago Gail asked me to take over the task of signing up performers.  With the world-wide exposure of the internet, this is probably the easiest job around.  I spend a couple hours a month answering e-mail and fitting performers into the schedule.  We are currently booked through the end of 2012 - with wonderful professionals, many on tour from Europe, some local.  We are blessed to have some marvelous guitar programs locally and I have invited both instructors and occasionally students to be our performers.  
The other most critical part is the audience.  I've heard from many, including potential performers, that our audience has a reputation for being very special and friendly.  I don't know how to credit this, but perhaps part of it is not having admission fees (although they tend to be generous with their donations at the end), and perhaps because we encourage "locals" to get up and play during the first hour, we all have a bond.  Even the non players see us struggle and improve and encourage us to keep going.  It is a very supportive group for us amatures and for the guest.   We have an intermission between the local sign-ups and the professional - another chance for the audience to get together and chat.
Other odds and ends.   There is a group of us that practice and play together.  We always start off the meeting right on time with a couple pieces.   We're not great, but we have fun.  It sets the mood for the evening and people aren't so shy about playing "first."  We encourage all levels of players that first 45 minutes and have had everyone from beginners to professionals play a piece or two.    Our meetings are on Wednesday nights.  It seems easier to find a venue mid week.  Our audience is pretty faithful.  We usually have 40-50 people.
Well, this has worked splendedly for us and the VCCGS has met for 12 1/2 years now.