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George Winston Concert Supports Food Bank

Musician George Winston, who will perform a solo concert on his “second instrument,” the Hawaiian slack key guitar Dec. 2 at Berea College, will use the concert as an opportunity to help a good cause.

Will Winston will perform on Dec. 2

At Winston’s request, the concert will support the Berea Community Food Bank. Concertgoers are asked to bring a can of food as the sole “price” of admission to the free concert, scheduled for 8 p.m. in Phelps Stokes Auditorium.

Slack key guitar is a finger-picking tradition of Hawaii. Known as ki ho’ alu in the Hawaiian language, it is a fusion of traditional Hawaiian music with subtle influences of Mexican, Spanish, Portuguese, American, and European music. Slack key largely evolved on the ranches of the Big Island of Hawai’I when Hawaiians began to experiment with guitars brought to the islands by the vaqueros (Mexican and Spanish cowboys) in the late 1830s. Until recently, slack key has remained only as a folk tradition.

Winston was inspired to learn to play the slack key guitar when he first heard the recordings of guitarists Gabby Paine and Kola Beamer in the early 1970s. Since that time he has been devoted to learning and recording this style of guitar playing.

In 1980, Winston created Dancing Cat Records, and to date he has produced 36 recordings of master slack key guitarists. He also has released 10 CDs featuring his piano playing. He has recorded piano, guitar, and Harmonica soundtracks for children’s movies, and played on 17 compilation albums. Winston tours extensively in the United States, Asia, and Europe, performing piano, guitar, and harmonica solo concerts. His newest solo piano album, Montana-A Love Story, has just been released. For more information visit

Winston supports local food charities through all of his concert performances – about 100 each year. At Berea, volunteers with the Berea Community Food Bank will be collecting canned goods and personal items before and after the concert and during the intermission. According to Rev. Ed McCurley, pastor of First Christian Church in Berea, where the Food Bank is housed, all non-perishable foods and personal products are welcome, but the items of greatest need at the moment are: canned fruit, jelly and jam, peanut butter, tuna, tomato sauce and paste, whole or diced canned tomatoes, cooking oil, dry mil, dry cereals and Velvetta cheese.

CDs, cassette tapes, videos and posters donated by Winston also will be for sale at the concert, with all proceeds going to the Food Bank.

The Berea Community Food Bank is one of three programs of Berea Faith Community Outreach, Inc.(BFCO), made up of churches throughout the Berea area. Families may receive food up to three times in a six month period. The Food Bank served 420 families in 2003, and as of Nov. 15 of this year, has served 440 families. All funds and food are donated. For more information, contact Dr. Ed McCurley, at (859) 986-4553.

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