Ellnora Festival celebrates iconic instrument

Bill Kirby

Staff Writer

This year’s Ellnora Guitar Festival, a week long celebration of America’s most iconic instrument, took place Sept. 8-12th at the Krannert Center for Performing Arts. The festival offered 29 performances from both local and worldwide artists- 14 of which were free to the public.

Dr. Young Kim, Director of the Parkland Guitar Ensemble, said the festival offers fellow musicians and others in attendance the opportunity to hear something new and different.

Photo by Ruben Aguilar | The Prospectus Guitars hanging from the ceiling of the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts during the Ellnora Guitar Festival. Artists around Champaign-Urbana started out with large, guitar-shaped pieces of wood and the end result were these amazing guitars on display.

Photo by Ruben Aguilar | The Prospectus
Guitars hanging from the ceiling of the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts during the Ellnora Guitar Festival. Artists around Champaign-Urbana started out with large, guitar-shaped pieces of wood and the end result were these amazing guitars on display.

“The festival exposes people and musicians to new music at a very high level,” Kim said.

The Ellnora Festival brings together many different genres of music with the goal to expose listeners to new styles and artists they may not have heard before.

Janet Hamilton, a member of the Parkland Guitar Ensemble, said that exposure can be very inspiring.

“Going to the guitar festival and hearing new music can inspire you to be a better musician and be motivated to learn more about the instrument,” Hamilton said.

The Parkland Guitar Ensemble hopes to play for the festival in the future.

This year the guitar festival also featured a gallery of paintings by local artists. With a common theme, artists painted original designs in the shapes of guitars. The artwork was on display in The Studio Theater. Artists of all ages used spray paint, oil paint, acrylics, recycled metals and more.

The Parkland Child Development Center had four pieces featured in the gallery.

“Having paintings by the children is a wonderful way for them to participate in the community. It helps build their sense of self-esteem. They can attend the event with their family and it helps build their overall social emotional development,” said Nancy Kemna, Director of the Parkland Child Development Center.

In past years the festival has featured many seminars and clinics hosted by local business. It has also featured performances by local schools in the lobby before and after concerts.

Photo by Ruben Aguilar | The Prospectus Jeremy Gustin, the drummer of Star Rover, performs on Friday, Sept. 11, 2015 at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts during the Ellnora Guitar Festival.

Photo by Ruben Aguilar | The Prospectus
Jeremy Gustin, the drummer of Star Rover, performs on Friday, Sept. 11, 2015 at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts during the Ellnora Guitar Festival.

“Having local students play before and after concerts provides them with the opportunity to be heard and engage the community. Having seminars and clinics in local business can increase awareness of the community, because, people come to the festival from all across the country,” said Dyke Corson, owner of Corson’s Music.

For more information about the Ellnora Guitar Festival, go to www.ellnoraguitarfestival.com.