At 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 20, internationally renowned thumb picking guitar virtuosos Loren Barrigar of Elbridge, N.Y. and Mark Mazengarb of New Zealand will take the stage in the Coolidge Theatre at the Deane Center for the Performing Arts in Wellsboro.
These two men are known not only for their musical chemistry and stage presence but also for their unique style of guitar playing, largely built on the thumb-picking techniques pioneered by late guitar greats Merle Travis, Chet Atkins and Jerry Reed.
Performing as Loren and Mark, the duo’s stunning guitar instrumentals and vocal duet harmonies have brought standing ovations. Their varied repertoire ranges from classical to jazz and bluegrass to gypsy swing. In Wellsboro, they will play a mixture of their original songs and their arrangements of melodies made famous by Les Paul, Chet Atkins, the Beatles and others.
Loren and Mark first met in 2005 at former Jefferson Airplane guitarist Jorma Kaukonen’s Fur Peace Ranch guitar camp in Ohio. There, they spent a few days working with Tommy Emmanuel. The Australian thumb-picking guitarist has hailed them as “fresh and exciting. These guys rock,“ said Emmanuel, a friend and follower of Atkins and only one of five musicians that Atkins designated as a Certified Guitar Player.
When they first played together, Loren was a seasoned performer who was taking his first serious look at acoustic guitar. Mark was in college, completing his degree in classical guitar through an exchange program between the Conservatorium of Music in Wellington, New Zealand and the University of North Carolina. That’s where Mark discovered the world of bluegrass and has since become an accomplished jazz, folk and bluegrass musician.
In 2009, Loren and Mark met again in Nashville at the Chet Atkins Appreciation Society convention, an international gathering of hundreds of guitarists. That set the stage for the 2010 Atkins convention where they played as scheduled performers. Though not originally listed to play on the big Saturday night finale, they were added to the show by popular demand from those who heard their music throughout the week.
Loren and Mark recorded their first studio album together in the summer of 2011. It won a SAMMY (Syracuse Area Music Award) for Best Album. Their second, “Onward” also won a SAMMY. “One to One” was recorded in Nashville in 2015. They also recorded a live album “Catch the Duo at Nighttown.”
They tour extensively in the United States, Europe and New Zealand.
The Deane Center at 104 Main Street and Timeless Destination restaurant and lounge at 77 Main Street, a short walk across the street from each other in downtown Wellsboro, are presenting a dinner and a concert option for a discounted price on Friday, Jan. 20. Dinner will be served at Timeless between 5 and 6 p.m. Included is a beverage (coffee, tea or a soft drink), a cup of soup or a salad, fresh bread and a choice of one of five entrées (marinated sirloin steak, dill salmon or chicken oreganata served with a vegetable and potato of the day or shrimp scampi or chicken marsala served over pasta).
Concert only tickets are $20 and $17 for senior citizens and $35 for the meal and music. For tickets for the dinner and the concert or for the concert only, call the Deane Center at 570-724-6220.