Two local guitarists are teaming up with Bodhi Tree Concerts to host a concert in La Jolla to benefit Guitars in the Classroom, a nonprofit education organization that provides musical access for children and expands the role of music in public education. While some may see music as pure entertainment, for George Svoboda, it gave him a necessary direction in his youth.
“I was a little wild in my teens,” said Svoboda, who start playing electric guitar when he was 14. “[Music] focused me into a direction that I needed to go. I just wanted to learn music. Everything else was kind of secondary after that.
Growing up in Czechoslovakia, Svoboda moved to the United States to attend San Diego State University where he received his master's degree. He “immersed” himself into the lifestyle of a musician and began performing, recording and even teaching. It wasn’t long until he met the other half of the now locally known duo, Fred Benedetti.
They’ve been playing together for over 30 years and share a love of not only playing music but making sure it has a place in education as well.
"Kids who are musical will gravitate towards acquiring instruments when given an opportunity,” Benedetti said. "This is usually through parents and (it used to be) school. I have experienced first hand the change in attitude of when a younger person plays ‘music' as loops on a computer to when they experience making music with their own hands. There is an appreciation and satisfaction from making a real instrument come alive.”
Without music, Benedetti — who started playing music when he was 8 — would have focused on his other two passions, surfing and baseball, but he says that those hobbies “would have never turned into a profession.”
“Primary and secondary education look at music as purely entertainment,” said Svoboda, who also teaches music at Mesa College. “In my opinion, it’s an educational tool. For kids, especially in their formative years, the more music the better for their development.”
Benedetti and Svoboda perform regularly throughout the United States and Mexico. In 1996, they wrote, arranged and performed the music for San Diego's Old Globe production of Shakespeare’s "Much Ado About Nothing,” under the direction of Tony Award-winning director Jack O’Brien. Their recent CDs,
"Flamenco Dreams" and "Spanish Gardens," are produced by Domo Records.
Their upcoming performance with Bodhi Tree Concerts will be held at St. James by-the-Sea in La Jolla on Sunday, March 31 at 4 p.m. For more information, visit bodhitreeconcerts.org