LAGQ to Headline Northern California Fire Recovery Benefit Concert

The LAGQ (L-R): Scott Tennant, John Dearman, Bill Kanengiser, Matthew Greif

Pardon us while we go “local” for a moment. Those us who live and work in beautiful Northern California were shocked and saddened by the wildfires that swept across parts of north central California last November (2018), killing 86 people, injuring many more, and burning nearly 19,000 structures and hundreds of square miles of forest and other land. The so-called “Camp Fire”—the biggest in California history—completely devastated the town of Paradise—a little east of the  California State University city of Chico—leaving virtually everyone who lived there homeless. The rebuilding process has been slow and agonizing, to say the least.  It will take years and it will never be quite what it once was.

But people from all over have contributed to the cleanup and rebuilding efforts, and now there’s a classical guitar angle to this recovery story: On Saturday, May 25, there will be a special all-guitar benefit concert called “Recuerdos de Paradise” featuring the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet (the LAGQ), flamenco specialist Adam del Monte, the versatile classical player Jack Cimo (who is the artistic director for the concert), and Portland, Oregon-based flamenco and classical guitarist Berto Boyd. All of the guitarists are donating their services, as are the many volunteers helping stage the event. The concert will take place at and benefit the Paradise Performing Arts Center (which miraculously escaped destruction in the fire, unlike many structures around it), and also support the rebuilding of Norton Buffalo Hall, an important performance and multi-use space in the town before the fire. (Norton Buffalo was a wonderful harmonica player, singer, songwriter, and producer who lived in Paradise in his later years; he died in 2009.)

The folks who ran Norton Buffalo Hall write on their website: “Though our entire town was destroyed in the Camp Fire, and all of our [Community Guild] members lost their homes in that horrible blaze, we have met each week since November 8, 2018 to connect, share needs and resources, comfort each other, and figure out our next steps.  In our distress, this is what it means to ‘Be the community you want to live in.'”

The concert is certain to be memorable—a healing experience for folks in the area, and for anyone who makes the worthwhile trip to see an evening of top-flight guitar music, played for a great cause. Kudos to all the musicians, and to the tireless organizers and major supporters, including Ken Donnell, founder of the nonprofit California Gift of Music and owner of Donnells Music Land/MiniFlex Mic in Greenville, Calif.; John Wunsch, president of Strings By Mail; Jodie W. Litchfield of Kata Marketing; and the aforementioned Jack Cimo.

For more information and to purchase tickets (a very reasonable $40), or to make a donation in absentia, click here!

And because we can’t resist an opportunity to post videos, here are enticing glimpses of all the performers: