When Jonathan Newberry takes the stage at his concert, “6 strings, 2 hands, 1 Hope,” more than 20 years of guitar experience will come with him.
“I have only been devoted to the classical guitar for about half of that time,” Newberry told The Log. “I credit most of my ability to read, learn, interpret, and play classical guitar music to the 10+ years I spent taking piano lessons as a young child.”
Newberry switched to the electric guitar at the age of 14, because, like many at that age, he wanted to be a rock star.
“I can laugh about this now, but I was inwardly driven toward this goal,” he said. “I started practicing 4-5 hours a day. As a result, I became proficient on the electric guitar very quickly, but after several years realized my talents, personality, and temperament were more suited to a style of music that was both technically challenging and self-accompanying, because I don’t sing well. The classical guitar was a perfect fit, and drew heavily from my roots as a young piano player.”
Newberry loves Spanish guitar music because it sounds so natural on the classical (aka Spanish) guitar.
“I really enjoy Renaissance and Celtic music. I always enjoy instrumental arrangements of popular songs, when they are well done. My favorite guitarist/composer/arranger is Andrew York, and almost invariably I will include some of his music in my recital programs.”
Newberry, currently a pathologist and major in the USAF stationed at Eglin Air Force Base, has been on active duty for three years.
“I was commissioned into the Air Force on the military’s Health Profession Scholarship Program back in 2002 and spent a combined eight years in medical school and residency training on ‘civilian deferred’ status. I am in the process of completing a four-year active duty service commitment.”
All proceeds from the concert will benefit Hope Medical Clinic, a volunteer and donor driven clinic providing health care to working, uninsured individuals in the local community. Currently the clinic is serving 1,075 active primary care patients.
“Along with growing our primary care program, we now offer women’s health check ups, a pediatric program with referral through select local schools, and licensed counseling services,” Tim Roberts, clinic director of Hope Medical Clinic told The Log.
The clinic relies on local medical professionals and the time they volunteer to give back in a setting that promotes physical, mental and spiritual health.”
“We are very excited about Jonathan’s willingness to play for Hope Medical Clinic,” Roberts said. “I have had the opportunity to attend his concert before and really enjoyed the experience. His talent and skill are something to witness, and we are lucky to have him share it with us.”
Newberry spends a great deal of time selecting the music for his programs and hopes everyone will enjoy it.
“I carefully select a well-rounded program that flows well and includes familiar and unfamiliar pieces over a wide range of styles. This is the best way to keep an audience engaged.”
Newberry also wants to increase people’s awareness and their opinion of the classical guitar as a compelling solo instrument.
“Not many realize the potential of one guitar, which is quite capable of projecting multiple voices simultaneously, both melody and accompaniment,” he said. “I always get great satisfaction in hearing comments such as ‘it sounded like two or three people were playing at the same time.’”
Always framing his performances with a sense of greater meaning and purpose, Newberry believes talents are God-given and must be nurtured and shared in a way that builds others up and glorifies Him.
“Though it takes a certain amount of ego to willfully subject oneself to a public performance, I hope that I draw a minimal amount of attention to myself and more focus to the Greater God and the Greater Good,” he said. “This is a big reason for partnering with the Hope Medical Clinic for this concert, and hopefully my talent can raise a few dollars to support their efforts.”