Guitarist, Appalachian alumnus to perform benefit concert

Ryan Morris

Justin Butler is an award-winning composer and performer who graduated from Appalachian State University in 2004. Butler will be holding a recital Wednesday at 8 p.m. in the Hayes School of Music recital hall. Award-winning performer, composer and Appalachian State University graduate Justin Butler will hold a benefit concert Wednesday for the Community Music School.

Donations will go toward the creation of financial-based scholarships for members of the CMS, which was created by an Appalachian professor and aims to provide music lessons outside of structured university classes to the people of Boone.

“Dr. Liz Rose started it back in 2006,” Butler said. “It’s an outreach program.  We give grade-schoolers from three years old up through college, and even older students, lessons.”

At the benefit concert, Butler will perform solo guitar music across several genres, including the works of Agustin Barrios, Astor Piazzolla, J.S. Bach, Mauro Giuliani and Django Reinhardt. The concert will also serve as the premiere of Butler’s newest original piece, which is titled “Amusipik.”

Butler graduated from Appalachian in 2004 after receiving performance and academic scholarships to study music. He earned an undergraduate and master’s degree in music performance.

According to a press release, he also studied the Suzuki performance method at the Hartt School in Connecticut and at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.
Butler has performed with many musicians, including Doug James, Andy Page, Matt Palmer, Damian Marley, Etta Baker, the Wailers and Gregory Isaacs, according to his website.

“My favorite performance was in 2006 when I was touring with a reggae band in Japan,” Butler said, talking about the band Hope Massive, which performed mainly on the southernmost island of Japan.

In addition to CMS classes, Butler teaches music classes at Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute and Milligan College in Eastern Tennessee.

Throughout most of his professional career, Butler’s focus has been on guitar. However, he is also trained in piano and saxophone.

The CMS classes are not for college credit, but are open to anyone in the Boone and Western North Carolina area who wants to learn more about music.

The benefit concert begins at 8 p.m. in the recital hall of the Hayes School of Music Wednesday.

Story: EMMA SPECKMAN, Senior A&E Reporter

Photo Courtesy: Justin Butler