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File photo / Joe Bonamassa will give one lucky young guitar player the chance to spend some time with him at Songbirds as part of a contest to encourage young players.

One lucky and talented young guitar player will earn the chance to enjoy a one-on-one player experience with guitar great Joe Bonamassa thanks to a contest at Songbirds Guitar Museum.

The idea for the contest originated from Bonamassa, who will be making his sixth visit to the museum, which houses the world's largest collection of rare and unique guitars, and the adjoining live music venues.

"Every once in a while you are given an opportunity to participate in something that could change the trajectory of someone's musical life," Bonamassa said.

"I am honored to participate in this experience that was generously donated by the Songbirds guitar museum. To spend a day amongst the greatest guitar collection in the world and play music will be something anyone will remember for the rest of their lives."

Bryan Shannon with the museum said the idea came up last week and things have been moving quickly.

"We are building the airplane while flying, as they say, I guess," he said. "We are working with him on another project and he suggested this. He is adamant about putting those really rare guitars into the hands of kids."

The contest is open to guitar players under 18. Entry is free, and Shannon said the young players can email their entries to contest@songbirds.rocks, or they can post it on YouTube and share the link.

Entries should be a 5-minute video demonstrating playing ability and should include a spoken segment detailing why the entrant should be chosen. Entries are due by noon on July 17.

The winner will spend some time in the morning with Bonamassa, then lunch and if things work out, perform that evening at Songbirds South with Paul Childers, who will be paying tribute to the late Stevie Ray Vaughan on Aug. 7. The winner and his or her family will also be provided a hotel room for the night.

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

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