The Guitar Man to perform in first MVCCA concert in nine years

Credit: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO Ty Greenlees

Credit: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO Ty Greenlees

Jim McCutcheon will play a segment with Miami Valley Symphony Orchestra.

It’s been nearly a decade since Jim McCutcheon performed with Mark Twehues on a Miami Valley Community Concert Association program. The local musician, educator and composer, known as The Guitar Man to generations of young Daytonians, opens the association’s 2022-2023 Heart & Soul season in the Centerville Performing Arts Center at Centerville High School on Wednesday, Sept. 7.

McCutcheon, who hosts “The Intimate Guitar” on WDPR-FM (88.1), was the recipient of the 2017 Ohio Governor’s Award for the Arts. His store, McCutcheon Music, is located at 38 Marco Lane in Centerville.

The guitarist recently answered some questions about the concert, which is divided into a segment of solo acoustic pieces and another segment with McCutcheon backed by the Miami Valley Symphony Orchestra.

Question: I know you have a busy teaching schedule. What’s going on now?

Answer: I’m here at UD teaching today. I’m here three days a week. I also teach one day at Wright State and one day at Miami so that’s a lot of fun. I do a lot of working in schools and libraries as The Guitar Man and that’s starting to happen again. I don’t know how long I’ve been doing that, probably 40 years, and I’m still having a great time with it. I also teach at my store and then I go and do stuff like this concert.”

Q: It’s been nine years since your last appearance with the Miami Valley Community Concert Association. How does it feel?

A: I’m really happy to be a part of all of this concert series. We’re so lucky to have a group like MVCCA that has touring artists but also includes and validates the talent we have locally.

Q: What is the program for this MVCCA show?

A: Well, I’m doing something pretty audacious, an entire concert of my original music. It’s my original compositions but it’s also original arrangements of music that people will know for classical guitar. It’s going to be a mixture of things people probably haven’t heard and there will also be things people have heard that I’ve arranged.

Q: Is it rare for you to do a concert of all originals?

A: Yes, it is. I did a concert at the Troy-Hayner Center many years ago. I’m sure it’s been a decade or more and I thought this would be a really good time to do it. I just turned 70 and I’ve been writing music since I was a teenager. There is a fair amount of music I’ve written that I really like. I’m not patting myself on the back here but I think it’s pretty good music and I really enjoy playing it. It’s going to be real fun to present it in a concert in this format.

Q: What can folks expect from this concert?

A: The nice thing about doing all these original songs is most of them have stories. I like to talk to audiences and fill them in on some background without making it a lecture. I like to give them some idea where it comes from and what to listen for. I’m actually doing one of the earliest pieces I wrote, which is a series of five miniatures. I’m going to close the first half of the concert with a piece I used for a scholarship audition at Wright State when I was a student there. I have a good story about that in a TEDxDayton talk I did. The first half of the program is solo and then the Miami Valley Symphony Orchestra is going to be playing with me on the second half of the program. I’m so tickled to have a chance to play with the MVSO.

Credit: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO Ty Greenlees

Credit: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO Ty Greenlees

Q: What are you performing with the orchestra?

A: I recently finished a concerto for guitar and string orchestra called ‘The Mirkin Concerto.’ I did it as a gift to an arts patron who was in our community for many years named David Mirkin. He’s a retired pathologist from Children’s Medical Center and a lover of all arts. He loves the guitar so I decided to write this as a gift to him. I would write one movement every year or so. I had done different movements of this piece before but I debuted the whole thing for the first time a couple of years ago with a string quintet at one of COCOA Music’s concerts. Composition is one of my, I don’t know if you’d call it a guilty pleasure, but I enjoy it. You generally don’t make money doing this but I love to do it and, boy, when it works, it’s just such a fulfilling feeling. I’ve got three contrasting movements and it’s going to be a lot of fun to play with the MVSO.

Miami Valley Community Concert Association’s Heart & Soul season continues with Nic+Desi: Broadway Song, Dance and Romance on Oct. 6. Tickets per concert are $35 adults, $5 students. Season subscriptions are available.

Contact this contributing writer at 937-287-6139 or e-mail at donthrasher100@gmail.com.

HOW TO GO

What: MVCCA presents An Evening with Jim McCutcheon

Where: Centerville Performing Arts Center, Centerville High School, 500 E. Franklin St., Centerville

When: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 7

Cost: Season tickets are $90 adults, $15 students. Tickets per concert are $35 adults, $5 students

More info: mvcconcert.org

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