Young guitarist is New Zealand’s best

15 August 2016

Sam Franicevic (left) pictured with Tommy Emmanuel (right).

Hillary scholar Sam Franicevic was recognised as New Zealand’s Best Young Guitarist at the Mercury Bay Music Festival held in June. As a result of the win, Sam headed to Saratoga Springs in New York to spend four days at the Tommy Emmanuel Guitar camp.

The former Hamilton Boys’ High School prefect attended days of guitar workshops with four of Tommy’s friends and fellow expert guitarists. Sam says he learned to expand his skill set with his guitar playing.  

“A lot of the lessons and workshops were in music genres I had never really delved into before. I quite enjoyed that as it gave me opportunities to ask questions of the experts and figure out how to get better much faster than I would have been able to on my own,” says Sam.

Tommy Emmanuel is recognised as one of the foremost fingerstyle guitarists in the world and has been nominated for two Grammy Awards.

Sam says his trip was a long-awaited experience that “I never imagined I’d do".

“Three years ago I was able to see Tommy Emmanuel play at Founders Theatre, and from that day on I’ve been convinced he’s the best player in the world,” he says. “Being able to attend a guitar camp with him and being able to play alongside him on the final night are things I’ll never forget.”

Sam says the highlights of the trip were learning more about improvisation and being able to interact with Tommy on a personal level.

“I would like to give a huge thank you to the ‘you travel’ team, to Len Salt, and to the Mercury Bay Music Festival for giving me the opportunity to go on this trip.”

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