by: contributed photo The Estacada Junior High School Guitar Club.

With the help of a dedicated musician from the Estacada Music Emporium, students participating in the Estacada Junior High School Guitar Club are gaining knowledge and appreciation in the world of guitars.

For the past month or so, Estacada Music Emporium's Eric Payne has been attending the weekly guitar club's hour-and-a-half meetings, which are held every Wednesday, and bringing his knowledge to the club's eight members.

Language arts teacher Marc Kottler, who, along with Larry Hastings, is the faculty sponsor for the club, said Payne brings different guitars every week, demonstrates different styles of music, teaches basic scales and allows the entire group to play with his guitars and amplifiers

'I have learned more guitar over the last month than I have over the past 20 years,' Kottler said, 'and the kids are learning too. Everybody is having a blast.'

In what he calls a great public/private partnership between the Music Emporium and students, Kottler said, it all started when he was in the Emporium about a month ago to purchase guitar strings. He struck up a conversation with Payne and the business's co-owner, Tim Arnold.

'They wanted me to tell the kids about the café they're putting in, but I invited them to come to our club and tell us themselves,' he said. 'Ever since that fateful day, Eric has been a regular attendee at our guitar club.'

'For me, it's the highlight of my week,' Payne said, just after attending another club meeting last Wednesday, where he took a guitar apart. 'I try to take a different guitar over there every week. One time I took a classical guitar and showed them what it would do and then, the next week, I showed them a heavy metal hot rod. I try to give them as broad a picture as I can.'

Already, Payne said, it's fun to watch the students grow as musicians.

'There is some good seed planted there,' he said.

As for Kottler, the relationship between staff at the Estacada Music Emporium and the students sparks a lot of learning and passion for the guitar.

'Estacada Music deserves a lot of credit for partnering with us and enriching our students' educations,' Kottler said. 'We're looking forward to carrying this into the future.'

Kottler added that the club is looking for anyone in the community willing to donate old, dusty guitars buried in their closets, attics, and garages and send them to the club for the kids who don't have their own guitars. Payne said he could help the club get them back into shape and give them a second life at the school.

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