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Entertainment: This year’s Bach to Blues concert to be dedicated to John Garcia

A special jam session is planned by musicians for the end of the show

Published in the March 15 – 28, 2017 issue of Morgan Hill Life

By Staff Report

This year’s Bach to Blues concert will honor South Valley’s legendary musician John Garcia who died last year. It will be held March 18 at Gavilan Community College’s theater as a fundraiser to benefit the music department.

As a professional singer and guitarist for the past 30 years, John Garcia performed with John Lee Hooker, Albert King, Johny Winters, Paul Simon and Huey Lewis. Bo Diddley once described John as “one hell of an entertainer.” As a blues guitarist, there are few his equal. Instrumental virtuosity coupled with a unique vocal style are his trademarks, said Alberto Marqués, a Gavilan music instructor who organizes the Bach to Blues.

Besides Marqués, other performing artists for this year’s concert include: Maria Amirkhanian, Dahveed Behroozi, Nate Pruitt & Primary Colors, Sam Sotelo, Dave Porcella, the winner of the Marian Filice Youth Piano Competition, and the Gavilan Performance Ensemble.

Bach to Blues is a faculty concert that started in 1998 to showcase the talents of Gavilan music talent.

“We started the concert series because many of our students would ask us to see our performances, but unfortunately most of our concerts are outside of the area. So we decided to put on a local concert,” Marqués said. “For many in our community, they had no idea that Gavilan music instructors have performed throughout the world. They knew us inside the classrooms, but we wanted them to get to know us in a concert setting. In addition to the music faculty performing we also on occasion ask prominent figures in our community to perform with us.”

This year’s concert will be a special one for the audience and performers because it is a dedication to Gilroy’s very own world-famous music-maker, John Garcia. He played throughout the South Valley as well as traveled the world on music tours.

“John for many years performed with us at Bach to Blues, and we consider him to be part of the Gavilan family,” Marqués said. “He gave freely to us and that was his way of giving back to our community. We are hoping to do a special dedication to him and to his legacy during the show.”

At the end of the concert, the performers plan to have a special jam session honoring Garcia and will invite onstage friends and fellow musicians who have played or studied with the blues player over the years.

For Marqués, the annual concert is an opportunity to share with the audience a music form that they might not see very often – flamenco.

“Even though I grew up playing rock and blues guitar, I consider myself to be a flamenco guitar player,” he said. “For that reason, I think it’s important for us to educate and share different types of music. Flamenco music comes from Spain and it’s a very complex form of music that has many different influences.”

The concert has grown into not only a homecoming for many local musicians to perform but also to interest high school and college students in various musical forms, Marqués said.

“One of the biggest thrills for me is not the actual day of the performance but rather years later when I see students and they tell me they still remember the Bach to Blues concert and express to me how enlightening and inspiring it was to them,” he said.