Ambassador Larry E. André Delivers Fender Guitars in Mauritania

Guitars for Swaziland - Ambassador Larry E. AndréWe are so pleased to announce the recent delivery of Fender guitars to Les Echos de Sahel, a school in Nouakchott, Mauritania. The guitars were presented to students by Ambassador Larry E. André, Jr., U.S. Ambassador to Mauritania.

This is our first delivery outside the nation of Swaziland, and it continues our core mission of bringing quality musical instruments and education to the children of Africa. A great big thanks to Jeff Van Zandt and Fender for their continued support, as well as everyone who has contributed to our efforts to make these deliveries possible.

Here are a few pics from the big day!
Ambassador Larry E. André, Jr., U.S. Ambassador to Mauritania, delivers guitars to Les Echos de Sahel in Nouakchott, Mauritania.
Guitars for Swaziland - Boys with Fender guitar Guitars for Swaziland - Girl with Fender guitar
Guitars for Swaziland - Two Boys with Fender guitars

IMAGINE – The 26th Annual John Lennon Tribute

Stephen Doster leads the finely tuned #9 Orchestra through a wide range of John Lennon and Beatles classics in what has become one of Austin’s longest running and finest annual tribute shows on October 9, 2016 at Threadgill’s South, 301 W. Riverside Drive, at 7 p.m.

The #9 Orchestra is: Stephen Doster, Tommy Taylor, Andy Salmon, Marie Nehring, Ben Cocke, Bruce Marton, Shana Norton, and Dave Moerbe. Special guests this year include: Gurf Morlix, Darin Murphy, Johnny Goudie, Miles Zuniga, Seela, Pablo Escalante, Greg Engle, Jon Dee Graham, William Harries Graham, Rick Busby, Jody Denberg, and The Magical Mystery Horns (Sam Jeffrey, Stephen Jeffery, and Kelly Hodge).

The event is being sponsored generously by Atticus Records and Fender, benefitting children in both Mauritania and Swaziland. A Fender guitar autographed by several renowned guitarists will be auctioned at the event.

A limited number of sponsorship package including one ticket, a T-shirt, and a $25 gift card to Wink are available at $50 each. All proceeds go directly to Guitars For Swaziland projects.




American Ambassador to Swaziland Makila James to Officiate in Handing Off Fender Guitars to Orphanages

American Ambassador Makila James will officiate during the presentation of twenty Fender Guitars to orphanages on Nov. 22 and 27, 2013. “We are ready to roll with distributing the guitars,” says Ruth Newman, PAO at the American Embassy in Swaziland.

The events will include performances by the children who learned from Guitars for Swaziland (GFS) founder Stephen Doster upon his trip in May 2012, when he was honored to represent the US State Department’s Arts Envoy Program performing and teaching guitar workshops. As a special surprise, along with the guitars, LP Percussion, Inc. has provided a variety of instruments, which will be included in the distribution.

Music training from preschool to postsecondary education is common in most nations because involvement in music is considered a fundamental component of human culture and behavior. “Guitars For Swaziland truly believes that music is an important part of every child’s education. Many thanks to Ambassador James and all of you there for your kindness and goodwill,” says Stephen Doster.

American Ambassador Makila James will officiate as the guitars are given to the children with a joyous musical celebration:

Nov. 20, 2:30 p.m. at SOS Children’s Village
SOS Choir sings “Lady Africa”
Bholoja from BATEF Centre, VusiSitsembiso Sebunye school perform.
Sandziso Matsebula a budding Swaziland guitarist will also attend.

Nov. 27, 2:30 p.m. at Enjabulweni Boys Orphanage, Manzini
Dusty & Stones perform
Cliff & Nsika perform

There will be two separate full-day trips to rural areas where the American embassy will distribute the remaining Fender FA-100 Acoustic Guitars with extra sets of strings and LP Percussion instruments. Guitars for Swaziland have plans to reach the SOS Children’s Villages in Mbabane, Sitka, Nhlangano; Cabrini Sisters; Jamming House; Sandra Lee Center, Mbabane; Njabulweni Boys’ Home, Manzini; McCorkindale Orphanage, Manzini; New Life Homes, Mtsambama; and Pasture Valley, Nhlangano.

“Fender strongly believes in music education,” Austin, Texas Fender representative, Jeff Van Zandt relates. “Fender is honored to supply the instruments necessary to make this dream a reality and to enrich the lives of children around the world through music.”

Guitars for Swaziland and Fender gather Austin musicians and supporters to celebrate the first shipment of Fender instruments to Swaziland

On July 23, many of Austin’s most renowned guitarists joined together with Fender to celebrate Guitars For Swaziland’s first shipment of instruments to the AIDS orphans of Swaziland. The group, which gathered at SoundCheck Austin , included Eric Johnson, Denny Freeman, Monte Montgomery, Redd Volkaert, Bill Carter, Chris Maresh, and GFS founder Stephen Doster, among others. It was truly incredible to see so many greats from Austin’s musical community stand alongside the first 20 guitars bound for Swaziland.

Fender - Guitars for Swaziland Fender has generously supplied all of the acoustic guitars, as well as the extra strings necessary to keep them sounding fantastic for years to come. We are also incredibly grateful for the contribution of Latin Percussion, which provided a variety of percussion instruments for this first shipment to Africa.

Jeff Van Zandt of Fender Musical Instrument Company commented on the company’s involvement in the project: “Fender strongly believes in music education and sharing the spirit of music with the world. When Stephen told us of his experience in Swaziland and explained what he wanted to do for the kids of Swaziland, his passion was overwhelming.”

He continued: “The unrivaled support from the Austin musicians that have jumped on board to support Stephen and his life-changing foundation falls in line with our passion. Fender is honored to supply the instruments necessary to make this dream a reality and to enrich the lives of children around the world through music.”

Daniel Roark, member of the GFS board, furthered the sentiment: “This photoshoot featuring the actual instruments shipped to Swaziland depicts not only the tremendous generosity of some of Austin’s most noteworthy musicians, but also the relentless effort from so many people in taking Guitars for Swaziland from just a simple idea to a working organization. These first twenty instruments mark the very beginning of our efforts and commitment to support the children of Swaziland.”

While this marks a major milestone for Guitars for Swaziland, our work is only beginning!

Guitars for Swaziland to Ship 20 Fender Guitars

Guitars for Swaziland will send the first shipment of Fender Acoustic Guitars. GFS and the US Embassy there are collaborating to have the guitars and extra sets of strings distributed to the orphanages. As a special surprise along with the guitars our new sponsor LP Percussion, Inc. will provide a variety of instruments.

Photo shoot at the Fender Showroom – Tuesday July 23rd, 1 p.m. guitarists who support the cause will gather to celebrate the first shipment. Stephen Doster has gathered Eric Johnson, Derek O’Brien, Chris Marsh, Denny Freeman, Monte Montgomery, Redd Volkaert, Bill Carter, John X Reed, Van Wilks, and Will Sexton to show their support. All guitarists are welcome to join in at the Fender Showroom located at Stage 4 – Sound Check, 1902 E. 51st St. Gate 2, Austin, Texas.

The support raised at the sold out GFS Inaugural Event at Wink, Austin’s premier wine bar, will help to ship 20 Fender FA-100 Acoustic Guitars to Africa. A virtual Who’s Who of Austin’s musicians, music professionals, and music lovers came together to help, including Denny Freeman, Eric Johnson, Gurf Morlix, Redd Volkaert, Randy Weeks, Chris Maresh, Brannen Temple, Stephen Doster, and Wayne Salzmann II. This will be the first shipment to help the AIDS orphans.

U.S. Ambassador Makila James & Ruth Newman (PAO) will officiate during hand-over sessions.The recipient orphanages include the SOS Children’s Villages in Mbabane, Sitka, Nhlangano; Cabrini Sisters; Jamming House; Sandra Lee Center, Mbabane; Njabulweni Boys’ Home, Manzini; McCorkindale Orphanage, Manzini; New Life Homes, Mtsambama; and Pasture Valley, Nhlangano.

Music training from preschool to post-secondary education is common in most nations for involvement in music is considered a fundamental component of human culture and behavior. Your support means so much to these children.

Website Up and Running!

It is an exciting time for everyone involved with Guitars for Swaziland!

With our first fund-raising event coming up over the weekend, the hustle is on to get everything ready.  We are pleased to have completely sold out the concert and dinner at Wink, and can’t wait to enjoy the amazing cuisine, outstanding wines, and wonderful music from Denny Freeman, Eric Johnson, Gurf Morlix, Redd Volkaert, Randy Weeks, and more!  For those who weren’t able to reserve a spot in time, don’t worry!  We have plans for many more unique events that are sure to catch your fancy.  Above all, we can’t wait to get Guitars for Swaziland truly up and running and start providing musical instruments to the people of Swaziland.

Of course, we are also pleased to have this website off the ground.  Please bear with us as it is a work in progress, and check back frequently for updates and future events.  You can also follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks to everyone in the music community who have already pledged so much time and support.  We look forward to seeing you this Sunday and in the future!