Welcome Lili Williams, SGS' new President
Open Letter to Members and Fans of Sacramento Guitar Society
by Daniel Roest, June 30, 2017
June 30, 2017 wraps up the better part of a decade at the helm of
the Sacramento Guitar Society. Within less than a year on the Board,
Lili Williams has risen to succeed me, and I could not be more pleased.
A 501(c)(3) Nonprofit Educational Arts Organization
Serving California's North Central Valley and Sierra Foothills
Sacramento Guitar Society
Lili Williams, President - Grant Writer
B.S. Electrical Engineering, 22 years at Intel Corporation
Former Owner/Director of OSC Computer Training, a licensed private adult vocational school, 10 years
Former Board Member, Rancho Cordova Chamber of Commerce
Musical Instrument Hobbyist: Piano, Guitar, Ukulele, Tombac, Santoor (Hammer Dulcimer),
I have three jobs – teaching, performing and presenting – all of which require the service/product, marketing and administration. It’s tough balancing three jobs, but I find success in each, and it’s impossible to drop one to boost another. What I can do now is drop the administrative/development leadership role for SGS thanks to Lili coming on board and demonstrating commitment to the mission. Not only has Lili researched and thought through the SGS mission, values and resources, she’s managed to generate more grant success than I or any other board member so far. My willingness to lead the Sacramento Guitar Society stemmed from having led San Jose’s South Bay Guitar Society in the 90’s (I am SBGS Director Emeritus) and the major disconnect in the State Capitol having no presenting program and no budget. Now look: High-level ticketed concerts, community guitar orchestra, schools outreach, open stage, workshops, guitar donations and 100% scholarships for guitar instruction for at-risk youth.
When Steve Roberts, Greg Williams, Brandon Yip, Matt Grasso, Bill Anderson, Dan Rooney, Harold Sexton, Michael Harbison and I set out 12/16/09 to give the Capitol region a strong guitar society and make it a 501(c)(3), we built it on the hopes that grant support would come from foundations and State, County and City programs. Hats off to founding board members and board members over the years. We had success not possible without incorporating as a nonprofit.
We did an incredible amount of service in the region and became one of the top guitar societies in the country. Our task was to serve the guitar teachers and students of the area, create a performing arts series for touring guitarists, put on monthly meetings with open stage time and occasional workshops, be ambassadors for the guitar and music education via school visits, and do all the things a small arts nonprofit had to do to support its mission.
When Three Stages on the Folsom Lake College Campus was being built, we angled for an early spot in their offerings and got a huge head start with a joint production of Muriel Anderson and Tierra Negra. From there we brought a parade of amazing classical guitarists in the intimate 100-seat recital hall, where acoustics were ideal for unamplified performances. Standing ovations were common, and the Saturday night plus Sunday afternoon offerings allowed audiences a choice.
As Three Stages became the Harris Center and we brought bigger name acts, we moved to the 200-seat middle theater, and we have not lost that sense of intimacy thanks to great sound engineering and sight lines. For both rooms, we have enjoyed raffles producing thousands of dollars over the years anchored by the Kremona USA donations of their handcrafted guitars as Grand Prizes.
These signature concerts elevated our profile in the community and drove our email list and connections in the area, but the Big Day of Giving fundraising campaigns have confirmed that what the community really cares about and supports is Outreach. Thanks to Three Stages/Harris Center concerts happening, we have been able to piggy back on them and bring into the classroom an incredible array of international artists they would never have met, let alone know about. The Appreciation Gallery on the website has a sampling of the gratitude received for these visits, and the many thousands of dollars raised from the 24-hour Big DOG campaigns show community support. No one else does exactly what we do, and people know it.
We launched our guitar orchestra with Greg Williams directing and added one of our proudest achievements in programming – professionally directed community ensemble guitar rehearsals and performances – the only program like it from here to LA. It thrives today under the baton of Sean O’Connor with annual Spring and Holiday Concerts.
You must remember that for decades SGS meetings were in people’s homes. We took them to a CSUS classroom, then the recital hall, and today we’re at the Clara Auditorium in Midtown. It’s working out as a rehearsal space for the guitar orchestra and transition into Open Stage or a smaller concert space. July 16th features Josh Moore. Coming ahead this season are Yuri Liberzon and Grisha Goryachev this Fall, Alex DeGrassi and Andrew York this Winter, and Eleftheria Kotzia this Spring, in addition to the 2017-18 Young Artists Showcase, Holiday and Spring Concerts.
Lili and I have a great partnership, with me providing information and assistance as she pursues grants – the reason SGS became a 501(c)(3) in the first place. I’m more relaxed than I’ve been in quite a while as I resume growth in my other jobs, teaching and performing, while continuing to serve SGS as contracted Artistic Director. New business cards have arrived! As I hand the President’s role to Lili July 1, 2017, I see a bright future for an already thriving Sacramento Guitar Society!