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June 19, 2014

Guitar Society performs on U.S. Bank plaza

By Jaychelle Willis

The summer breeze was in the downtown Cleveland air as workers were headed home. The usual Friday afternoon rush of cars passing by seemingly ready for the weekend’s festivities, the continuous sound of buses traveling east to west and pedestrians strolling up and down the street. While on East 14th Street, everything seemed to be at a standstill as guitarist Stephen Fazio serenaded crowd at the U.S. Bank Plaza.

Stephen FazioPresented by the Cleveland Classical Guitar Society (CCGS) in collaboration with Playhouse Square, audiences get to hear some of the best classical guitarist this city has to offer during its first Cleveland Classical Guitar Series.

Started on June 2, on Mondays and Fridays individuals can sit and enjoy free classical music by professionally trained students from some of the best area colleges.

During CCGS eight-part concert series held in the plaza on the corner of Euclid Ave and E 14th Street, the crowd had the opportunity to hear two-time, first prize winner of the James Stroud Classical Guitar Competition Stephen Fazio serenade them with his guitar.

The small audience filled with couples, families, business suits and individuals catching a quick after-work beer at the nearby Dynamite Burgers looked on as Fazio took the crowd to Spain with his Spanish-themed set.

His music made you feel like you were at a late night Spanish club filled with steamy couples romantically dancing the night away.

Fazio is a second time prize winner of in the Great Lakes Classical Guitar Competition in New York. Fazio was also awarded a full scholarship to study guitar at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music to complete a BM in guitar performance.

Walking by the plaza after work, Chagrin Falls resident Jack Dolan takes a seat on the stoop and watches Fazio set.

“I was walking by after work and I heard this beautiful music”, Dolan said.
Dolan, whom also has experience as a classical guitarist said Fazio playing was great.
“It is very, very good,” Dolan said.

District assistant for the Playhouse Square, Megan, who was in attendance to the concert, said their main purpose is to get workers like Dolan to come out after work and hang out at the plaza.

“We like to incorporate things to do at the plaza not only during lunch but after work as well,” Megan said.

The guitar series is a part of the Playhouse Square’s Excitement at the U.S. Bank Plaza with focuses on summer activities on the Playhouse Square District.

Erik Mann, Executive Director of the CCGS, whom also performed at the plaza just the week prior said it has always been a dream of the organization to collaborate with Playhouse Square.

“Collaborating with Playhouse Square has always been a big dream of ours,” Mann said.
Mann said he wishes to continue working with the Playhouse in the future.

Along with the Cleveland Classical Guitar Series, throughout the summer Playhouse Square has many exciting events planned for the plaza. Some include Tai Chi classes starting Wednesday July 2 going through August, the North Union Farmers Market going now through October, and the Cleveland Foundation Days at Tri-C JazzFest coming Friday June 27.

For more information on the Cleveland Classical Guitar Series and the complete list of performers and their bios visit clevelandclassicalguitar.org/events. For more information on upcoming events at the U.S. Bank Plaza visit playhousesquare.org.