Art & Culture

Free youth guitar classes in Hollister are first come, first served

Guitars Not Guns - a nationwide nonprofit with a chapter in Monterey County - to offer free guitar classes and free guitars -at Vets Hall in association with American Legion Post 69.

Guitars Not Guns — a national nonprofit with a chapter in Monterey County — will offer free guitar lessons at the Veterans Memorial Building in downtown Hollister starting Saturday, July 22 at 10 a.m.. Classes are 45 minutes in duration and will meet for eight consecutive Saturdays. If the students attend all eight classes, they get to keep the new acoustic guitar as a reward for their efforts.

The program was originally negotiated with the City of Hollister Parks and Recreation Department to operate as an activity but there were conflicts with the timing of the project.Instead, Hollister City Councilman and American Legion member Ray Friend offered to house the program in one of the upstairs rooms at Vets Hall, which is managed by the nonprofit organization.

Students ages 8 to 18 years old are welcome to apply for the free classes, and seating is limited to the first 12 students who apply (see attached downloadable PDF file).

Bruce Gilsenan, the lead instructor, studied music theory at Cabrillo Colleg and has been teaching private guitar lessons and gigging as a professional musician for about 30 years. (see video of Bruce performing Hotel California in his band, Con Corazon, below). Joining him will be Zack Freitas, a local musician who tours and performs regionally in bands and as a solo artist. Both instructors were vetted by Guitars Not Guns, Monterey County Chapter, including background checks.

It is envisioned that the free program will expand rapidly in San Benito County as it has in Monterey County where Guitars Not Guns serves more than 200 kids providing free guitar lessons in that community. 

Students will need written permission from parents or legal guardians to participate in the free guitar lesson program. For more information about applying for the classes, contact Michael Smith at [email protected]


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Michael Smith

Pro-economic growth, pro-music, pro-science, pro-retirement.