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Antrim guitarist brings Spanish flair to Peterborough gallery

Frank Wallace of Antrim knows Spanish music. It’s long been part of his repertoire of traditional classical music for the guitar, and he’s taken it with him on a tour of Spanish cathedrals, playing music as ancient as the churches themselves.

Now, residents of the Monadnock region will have the chance to hear some of the same music in a special concert at the Trumpet Gallery in downtown Peterborough on Saturday at 7 p.m.

“Every guitarist on earth has his roots in Spanish music,” said Wallace in an interview Monday. “It’s a Spanish instrument.”

The concert revolves around a mix of traditional Spanish music arranged by Wallace, and some of his modern pieces inspired by Spain’s medieval and renaissance music. And just as the music of the day will be breaking international borders, so will the cause the concert supports, with proceeds from a raffle held during the concert going to Doctors Without Boarders, an international medical organization that provides independent, impartial medical assistance in more than 60 countries.

Wallace is more entrenched in the Spanish roots of his chosen instrument than most. It started when he was young, when a fascination with Lawrence Welk led him to take accordion lessons. His teacher encouraged him to pick up the guitar as a secondary instrument.

“It wasn’t my decision at all,” said Wallace with a laugh. “Even though it was the late ’60s and I should have been anxious for an electric guitar.”

It wasn’t until Wallace stumbled upon a record of Los Romeros, a Spanish guitar quartet, that he really began to get interested in the guitar. And despite a lack of classical guitar teachers at his disposal, he picked up some books on the subject and began to teach himself in the classical style.

Wallace first found himself in Spain in 1972 as a student, but has been back many times since, touring the country that gave birth to the guitar. Most recently, he was there in July, climbing the Pyrenees Mountains, touring villages with ancient churches and playing music that was composed when those churches were first being built.

“It’s like it is in New England,” said Wallace, referring to the iconic architecture unique to each locale. “Just about every village has these medieval churches, made of stone, with incredible acoustics. It wasn’t the best paying gig, but I took it for sentimental reasons.”

Among the songs he played on his cathedral tour was a set of seven short pieces, “Nuevas Cantigas,” or “of new little songs,” an homage by Wallace to the Cantigas de Santa Maria, one of the largest collections of poems and songs from the Middle Ages in existence.

When Wallace returned from his tour of the Spanish cathedrals, he played some of his Spanish repertoire at the Trumpet Gallery in Peterborough, and when the owner, Mona Adisa Brooks, heard him, she became inspired to do a whole concert of the music.

In addition to the music Saturday night, the gallery will serve Spanish wine and “tapas” -- a wide variety of Spanish appetizers.. The event will also allow residents to speak to the featured artists at the Trumpet Gallery.

There is still limited space available, according to Brooks. Tickets are $30 per person or $50 per couple. Contact Brooks at 924-9862 or email monaadisabrooks@gmail.com for reservations. For more information about Frank Wallace, visit www.frankwallace.com.

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