The Sound of 21 Guitars

Twenty-one guitars can make an impressive variety of sounds. We watched Peter Blanchette direct his Happy Valley Guitar Orchestra tonight, and enjoyed the rich tones and deep contrast of different sounds this group of guitarists made up on the Academy of Music stage.

It wasn’t a show full of solos, as so often guitar music is highlighted. No, this was more tonal, more orchestral, swaying wheat fields of sound, stretching up, then back, and comprising sounds that might have been made by drums and keyboards, all done with the strings.

Songs based on spaghetti western music were part of tonight’s show. In the back of the orchestra, our cousin Paul Hartshorne played with baseball cap on, a solo in this number he got a nice shout-out by Blanchette.  It was a distinction in a band known for its distinction. These guys and gals really know their instruments!  Each part of the song was carefully arranged, carefully prepared.  Watching people do something new and so much more difficult raises my respect for the players.

Before the show we visited the newest restaurant in downtown Northampton, Eclipse.  Duck confit, Caesar salad with white anchovies, YAH BABY . But the service was lethargic, even giving them lots of room since they are new. They for the most part ignored us until we asked, please, can we order?