Innovative Grammy nominee guitarist to strum for cause


By Jade Mardirosian
Staff Writer

At 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Waco Hall will welcome world-renowned guitarist Tommy Emmanuel for a concert that will benefit the Waco Community Band Scholarship Fund.

The Waco Community Band is a local organization consisting of amateur and professional musicians that play four concerts throughout the year. The band is offered as a course at McLennan Community College, and the scholarship fund works to support students and band members.

Bryan Fonville, publicity chair for the Waco Community Band, explained the purpose of the benefit concert.

“The Waco Community Band just recently celebrated its 30th year, and to help the band expand its influence, we decided to hold a benefit concert,” Fonville said. “Tommy Emmanuel is an amazing and phenomenal guitarist who has been to Waco before and he really just wowed the audience.”

Emmanuel, who is a two-time Grammy nominee, performed to sold-out crowds at Bosque River Stadium in Waco in 2005, 2006 and 2008. He said he is looking forward to Saturday’s concert since “Texas audiences are great” and he believes there is a rich history of music in Texas.

“I’m looking forward to giving people a good time. That is what I do. I am an entertainer and I enjoy playing music for people,” Emmanuel said. “That is my calling in life, so I just show up and do the best I can.”

Emmanuel is famous for his unusual “finger picking” style of playing the guitar, which uses all 10 fingers, and is described as similar to how a pianist plays the piano.

At Saturday’s benefit concert, Emmanuel will be joined on stage by two other singer/songwriters, Anthony Snape and Pam Rose. He will also perform some songs solo.

“I will be playing some songs from my new album, but I will draw older [songs] as well,” Emmanuel said. “I never go off a [set] list. I like to live in that moment and see what I want to play. People are going to get all kinds of music. They’re going to hear everything.”

Lanny Nye, president of the Waco Community Band, said he was amazed by Emmanuel’s musicianship after seeing his performances in Waco, which is why the organization asked him back to play for the benefit concert.

“[Emmanuel] is a tremendous musician and I thought he would appeal to a lot of different people,” Nye said. “He has a strong appeal and he loved playing here in Waco so I thought, let’s go for it.”

Fonville said he believes people who attend the concert will hear the guitar played in a different way.

“He is a one-of-a-kind world-renowned [musician] for a reason, and it is not often world-class talent like his comes to Waco,” Fonville said. “[The benefit concert] is a great opportunity to hear great music and one of the most talented people playing the guitar in the world, and it is for a good cause.”

Ticket prices for the concert are $25, $35 and $45 and all proceeds will go to the Waco Community Band. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased by visiting This website also includes a promotional video of Emmanuel playing the guitar.