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The SMHS Guitar Orchestra plans to strum their way to victory at the Vanguard University Guitar Festival being held on Saturday, Feb. 25.

Forty-five (45) Saint guitarists will be performing with other musicians from middle school to college level at the Orange County event. They plan to play four pieces including “Nowhere Man” by the Beatles, “Dream Etude” and two others as proposed by Guitar and Choir Teacher John VanWie.

VanWie believes all the young instrumentalists are more than ready for the second trip to the inspiring environment.

“It’s going to be a wonderful experience for the kids to get to see the possibilities and career opportunities available through playing the guitar,’’ VanWie said. “They will also have the chance to display, through our performance, all the great things going on and how far we’ve come in a few years with the guitar at Santa Maria High School.’’

Last year’s performance proved to be an “eye opener” for the Saints.

“We were told by the guitar instructor from Vanguard that we stole the show!’’ said senior Luis Herrera. “Every professor and teacher from all the schools came up to me to personally congratulate us on our performance. This praise was not extended to any of the other groups who performed.’’

Senior Sofia Ibarra expects a fierce and talented competition, but remains confident.

“We were definitely the underdog amongst giants,’’ Ibarra said. “Most of the schools that performed are conservatory-style schools, where special emphasis is placed on music education and achievement. At most of the other schools that were there you have to audition to get into the programs.’’

Auditions for two Saints who are seeking admission into the Vanguard program are also scheduled to take place.

NONDISCRIMINATION POLICY: The Santa Maria Joint Union High School District is committed to ensuring equal, fair, and meaningful access to employment and education services. The SMJUHSD does not discriminate in any employment practice, education program, or educational activity on the basis and/or association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics of age, ancestry, color, disability, ethnicity, ethnic group identifications, gender, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, marital, family or parental status, medical condition, military or veteran status, nationality, national origin, immigration status, political affiliation, pregnancy and related conditions, race, religion, retaliation, sex (including sexual harassment), sexual orientation, or any other basis prohibited by California state and federal nondiscrimination laws respectively. Not all bases of discrimination will apply to both education services and employment. If you believe you have been subjected to discrimination, harassment, intimidation, or bullying, immediately contact the District’s Discrimination, Equity and Title IX Compliance Officer Mr. Kevin R. Platt at 2560 Skyway Drive, Santa Maria, CA 93455, (805) 922-4573 or You may request a copy of SMJUHSD’s Uniform Complaint Procedures, Non-Discrimination Policies, Sexual Harassment Policies or click here.