The mission of the Gulf Coast Guitar Association is to promote fine arts and education, to foster creativity and artistic growth, and to create a sense of community through the classical guitar for guitarists and aficionados alike


Core Values

  • Educational excellence
  • Artistic excellence
  • Organizational excellence and financial stewardship





The Gulf Coast Guitar Association was established in 2016 as a nonprofit corporation dedicated to classical guitar education and performances in the Houston, Texas area.  Our programs promote fine arts, provide an opportunity for lifelong learning and create a sense of community among classical guitar lovers.  Our outreach programs augment the guitar programs in Houston area schools and area colleges and provide concerts to retirement communities, to patients and staff in hospitals, to veterans and their families, and to recent immigrants working on their high school diplomas while employed or looking for work.

The organization was previously known as the Classical Minds Guitar Festival, Inc.  Our focus from 2004 to 2014 was sponsoring the Classical Minds Guitar Festival, an Institute of the Emmanuel & Helen Olshan Texas Music Festival.  The festival was held each year during the second full week of June during the month-long Texas Music Festival on the campus of the University of Houston.  The Texas Music Festival grew and could no longer accommodate the Classical Minds Guitar Festival, so in 2016 it was moved to the campus of Episcopal High School in Bellaire, Texas.


The annual guitar festival was renamed the Houston Classical Guitar Festival and Competition (HCGFest) in 2017 to better reflect the inclusiveness of the Houston community involvement and the nature of the activities.  In 2018 the GCGA found a new home for HCGFest on the campus of St. Philip Presbyterian Church on San Felipe between Post Oak Blvd & Loop 610.  Use of the campus includes the Sanctuary for concerts, 9 classrooms in the Education Building for education, the Choir Room and Fellowship Hall for ensembles and competitions, plus there is plenty of room to grow.

Since obtaining 501(c)(3) status, the Gulf Coast Classical Guitar Association, has striven to be the leading nonprofit organization dedicated to classical guitar in the Houston, Texas area.  The GCGA promotes the fine arts and creates a sense of community through a diverse series of educational and concert programs.


Organizational Goals and Objectives


  • Build a financially sustainable organization to support the mission of the Gulf Coast Guitar Association.
  • Provide a classical-guitar-based outreach program to the greater Houston area.

  • Bring to Houston the most prestigious classical guitarists from around the world to fill a niche in this city that does not often have the opportunity to hear artists of this caliber.
  • Grow the level of local, national and international participation in the Houston Classical Guitar Festival annually.

  • Grow organization size and competencies to achieve goals and objectives more efficiently.





The Corporation is governed by a Board of Directors that determines the Corporation’s mission and purpose, ensuring effective organizational planning, providing adequate resources, and effectively managing resources.  Members of the Board are active in business, philanthropy, education and service as community volunteers.  All have a love and appreciation of the classical guitar as an instrument.  An Advisory Board augments the Board of Directors. 

Populations Served


Classical guitar is an instrument that is loved and appreciated by all nationalities.  Historically, many of the great masters of guitar came from Spain, Mexico, Latin America and Brazil.  Today, the instrument is also played widely throughout China and many Asian countries.  We see this reflected in our concert and festival audiences.  For those who enroll in the Houston Classical Guitar Festival, approximately 57% are Hispanic, 33% Anglo and 10% Asian & other.


Geographic Areas Served


The GCGA outreach to the youth of Houston is largely through Houston ISD schools.  Music educators invite GCGA representatives to complement their own music programs by providing classroom demonstrations of the fine arts.  Students are inspired to continue learning music by interaction with the high quality interactions with GCGA educators.


The GCGA outreach to older adults living in retirement communities is in the greater Houston area. Concerts have been provided at retirement homes from the Spring-area to the Richmond-Rosenberg area.  The residents of retirement communities are exposed to fine arts that may no longer otherwise be available due to their status in life.  When possible the residents have responded by attending concerts provided by GCGA.


Concerts have historically been provided in the central Houston to Bellaire region.  In 2019 a concert is planned in the Nassau Bay area.  Providing concerts in the greater-Houston area helps to support the vision of become a leading organization in the greater Houston area promoting and facilitating education and outreach for the classical guitar.


The premier event sponsored by GCGA is the annual Houston Classical Guitar Festival & Competition (HCGFest).  Centrally located in the Galleria Area, the Houston Classical Guitar Festival is convenient to all Houstonians as the Galleria Area is one of the major transportation hubs in the city.  However, students and competitors have come from throughout Texas and 13 other states.  International participants have come from Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica and Brazil.


Our guest artists have come from other cities in the United States, Mexico, Norway and France.  Some came from other countries and are now residents in the USA.  Among these are artists who began their careers in Cuba, Belarus, Brazil and Mexico.  The international reach of guest artists reflects the diversity and character of Houston. 

Board of Directors


Nadene A. Crain, President


John Farraro, Vice President
Senior Advisor – Materials & Corrosion Engineering, Chevron Corporation


Greg Hendrickson, Secretary
Senior Fellow – Research and Technology, Chevron Phillips Chemical Company


James D. Crain, Treasurer


Jay Kacherski, Artistic Director
Guitar faculty at Loyola University, the University of New Orleans, and McNeese State University, and the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts


Jeremy García, Associate Artistic Director
Director of the guitar program at San Jacinto College South


Eddie Healy, Education Director
Coordinator of guitar and music theory studies at Eastfield College


Andrea Ricci Cannon, Outreach Director
Director of applied guitar studies at Lone Star College - North Harris, Director of Guitar Arts Pre-Collegiate Studio in Houston and jazz consultant to Spring Texas School District


Angelina Fonseca, Communications Director
Paralegal with Marks, Balette, Giessel & Young, PLLC

Brian Keyes, Ad-hoc Director
Senior Process Engineer - Dow Chemical Company


Advisory Board
Margaret Proctor
Van Seneca
William Rowe