Sunday, May 27, 2018     Volume: 19, Issue: 12

Santa Maria Sun / Music

The following article was posted on February 6th, 2013, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 13, Issue 48 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 13, Issue 48

Breaking boundaries

The Lompoc Concert Association presents string duo Acoustic Eidolon performing a range of music


There are people who view classical music as a stiff and rigid art form bound by rules. But to many others, the genre is home to more contemporary musical expression and relaxed attitudes.

The Lompoc Concert Association, which has been providing quality musical performances to the Lompoc Valley for an impressive 65 years, is an organization that respects the classical tradition but also makes room for more modern performance ensembles. The uniting factor each season is the high quality of the music being performed.

Married couple Joe Scott and Hannah Alkire make up Acoustic Eidolon, the featured ensemble for the upcoming Lompoc Concert Association show.

“There has always been a tradition of bringing classical music,” Lompoc Concert Association president Molly Gerald said, “but along with that there have traditionally been four concerts, and there have been one or two that are a little lighter and a little more contemporary.”

The ensemble slated to perform on Feb. 9 as part of the association’s season is a husband-and-wife duo called Acoustic Eidolon. The pair explores a wide variety of musical styles to journey through various times and places.

“Usually we would have a program with a list of pieces for the audience, but [Acoustic Eidolon likes] to announce their program as they go on, so I think we are in for some surprises,” Gerald said.

Acoustic Eidolon announces its songs during the concert due to the huge number of selections they might perform. Their latest album, released last year, is their 10th, and features almost all original compositions.

“We think of it as sort of taking the audience on a musical journey,” Alkire said. “We take them through all these styles that reflect our own journeys through Europe, Australia, and Hawaii, and we will tell them some of the stories behind the songs.”

Alkire, who started as a classically trained cellist, is committed to taking the cello to places it hasn’t traditionally been.

“It took me on the journey to learn to improvise and take it out of the classical world,” she said. “I was joining funk-rock bands and hip-hop bands, and playing open mic blues nights. I threw myself out of my comfort zone, and all of that exploration is what led me to studio work and to Joe’s door.”

Catch the show
The Lompoc Concert Association presents Acoustic Eidolon in concert on Feb. 9 at 7:30 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church, 925 North F. St., Lompoc. Cost is $25, $5 for students. More info: 737-1089 or

Scott, who met Alkire during a recording session that would set their future collaboration in motion, is a guitarist who was also interested in breaking musical boundaries. Having been familiar with five-string banjo, he acquired a double-neck acoustic guitar, tuning one of the necks like a banjo and the other like a regular guitar. He calls the instrument a “guitjo.”

“I compose a lot of instrumental music, and I wanted to have my own sound and voice on the guitar,” he said. “It doesn’t really sound much like a banjo, but I can get sounds that you can’t get on a traditional guitar.”

Acoustic Eidolon performs instrumental works as well as vocal songs, picking up on styles as diverse as flamenco, Celtic, American folk, and maybe even some rock’n’roll. A Youtube video featuring the two performing Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” exhibits the pair’s versatility and skill with their instruments.

“We have tried to create our own sound to set us apart from anyone else,” Scott said, “and with our instrumentation and compositions, I hope we achieved something like that.”

Vienna waits for you

The Santa Maria Philharmonic Society presents the fundraiser event “Passport to Vienna,” featuring an evening of splendor, romance, joy, and more, including a chance to win a trip for two to Vienna, Austria. The event is Feb. 9 at the Radisson Hotel, 3455 Skyway Drive, Santa Maria. Cost is $125. More info:
925-0412,, or

Viva musica

Viva el Arte de Santa Barbara presents Jose Hernandez and the Mariachi Heritage Society ensemble on Feb. 8 at 7 p.m., Isla Vista School, 6875 El Colegio Road, Goleta; Feb. 10 at 7 p.m. at the Marjorie Luke Theatre, Santa Barbara Junior High School, 721 E. Cota St., Santa Barbara; and Feb. 9 at 7:30 p.m., Guadalupe City Hall Auditorium, 918 Obispo St., Guadalupe. Free. More info: 884-4087, Ext. 7.

Contact Arts Editor Joe Payne at

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