Chattanooga Now Songbirds presents classical performance and a surf guitar legend

Chattanooga Now Songbirds presents classical performance and a surf guitar legend

April 20th, 2017 by Barry Courter in Chattnow Outabout

Michael McCallie & Friends play Songbirds Guitar Museum tonight at 7:30 p.m.

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

If you go

Michael McCallie & Friends
› Where: Songbirds Guitar Museum, 35 Station St.

› When: 7:30 tonight, April 20

› Admission: $15

› Phone: 423-531-2473

Dick Dale
› Where: Songbirds Guitar Museum, 35 Station St.

› When: 7 p.m. Friday, April 21

Admission: $60

› Phone: 423-531-2473

Guitar legend Dick Dale performs at Songbirds Guitar Museum on Friday night.

Guitar legend Dick Dale performs at Songbirds Guitar...

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

He is admittedly biased, but Songbirds Guitar Museum President Johnny Smith says watching Kevn Kenney and the California Guitar Trio perform during separates shows last week at the recently opened space "was like being in church.

"The sound was so good with the guitars all around. We had put curtains on the windows, it was just so reverent."

In addition to housing the world's largest and most valuable collection of rare guitars, Songbirds was designed to be a live music venue. On Thursday, April 20, Michael McCallie, a teacher at McCallie School and co-founder of Guitar Chattanooga, will give a classical guitar performance.

On Friday, April 21, surf guitar legend Dick Dale will perform.

"He is the king of surf," Smith says. "Not only is he iconic to the guitar industry, he created the surf sound. He was the first to use reverb like that. He also kept blowing up Leo Fender's amps, so Fender created a new one that allowed the guitar to get up above the other instruments."

Smith says having someone of Dale's stature perform in the museum is a "cool opportunity."

Dale's distinctive sound and style is showcased on hits like "Misirlou," "Let's Go Trippin'" and "Surfin.'"

"My First Love," "Runnin' Wild" and "Muscle Beach," recorded with the Del-Tones, were featured tracks in the movie "Muscle Beach Party" while "Secret Surfin' Spot/Surfin'" and "Swingin'" were featured in "Beach Party" with Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello.

McCallie holds a master's of music degree in guitar performance from Yale University, where he was the recipient of a full-tuition scholarship and a bachelor of music from Stetson University. He has recently completed a doctor of music degree at Florida State University.

He has earned several awards including a prize in the 2004 Stetson University Concerto Competition. He has performed around the country, including in Sprague Memorial Hall at Yale, the Cohen-Davison Family Theatre at Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University, Dohnanyi Recital Hall at Florida State University and twice on the Guitar Sarasota Concert Series. In 2015, he shared the stage with the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera as a featured soloist.

Smith says he got to hear McCallie practicing in the space last week, "and I've never met him, but he's one of the best guitarists I've ever heard. It's going to be great to see a guy of this caliber, and who is local, play in this environment."

Songbirds is located above Revelry Room at the Chattanooga Choo Choo. It is divided into three rooms. For performances, the display cases in the larger main room can be rolled to the sides to allow seating for 160 fans.

For an even more intimidate space, Songbirds uses the middle room as it did for the Guitar Trio. The third room is the vault containing the most valuable guitars in the collection.

Contact Barry Courter at bcourter@timesfree or 423-757-6354.