On Thursday, Nov. 7 from 7:30-9:00 p.m. students and faculty attended an event at the
Department of Fine Arts sponsoring Neil Zaza, a renowned guitar player widely known for his
diverse musical adaptations of famous pieces. Neil Zaza has been one of the best guitarists for
the past 20 years. He has traveled the world and shared the stage with some of the most amazing
musicians which include Steve Vai, Michael Anthony of Van Halen and Jordan Rudess of Dream
The audience heard ZaZa play popular pieces like “Take on Me” and Beethoven’s 5th
movement. Zaza engaged the crowd throughout his performance, encouraging the audience to
Shacora Bines, sophomore computer science major said she loved the event and was
overjoyed she attended.
“I absolutely loved everything about it,” Bines said. “I loved the hype and it made me
feel energetic. This has definitely been one of the best shows I have been to in a while.”
Shamine Gentile, sophomore nursing major said the event was different than any of the
past ones she had attended.
“This event was definitely better than others I’ve been too and was highly entertaining
and interesting,” Gentile said. “It definitely kept me on edge and exposed me to a different genre
Zaza explained that his passion for music has always been present in his life and he finds
being able to play guitar and reach out to people at the same time is a highly therapeutic practice.
“I’ve been playing for about 25-30 years now,” Zaza said. “Music makes me feel free and
relaxed, and it’s definitely a good way to connect with my audience.”
Zaza further explained that some of his inspirations include Van Halen and
Journey–musical groups that drove him to learn to play guitar.
“I would definitely say that my influences growing up played a strong role in my musical
abilities,” Zaza said. “The audience here in Florence was amazing, and this is definitely an
experience I will never forget.”
At the end of the show, students got to meet and greet Zaza personally, ask him questions
and even buy CDs that he autographed. Some students even signed up for one-on-one guitar
lessons from the musician. The classes were sponsored by the store, “Musical Depot” and were
offered on a first-come, first serve bases for a small fee.
“The response from the crowd was definitely amazing,” Zaza said, “I know I made a
wonderful decision coming to play here tonight.”
Dr. Goff, Assistant Professor of the Music Department, said that he believed the
performance was exceptional and one of a kind.
“Neil is one of the absolute best guitarists in his field, and I know that everyone who
attended the concert was amazed at his musical abilities,” Dr. Goff said. “It’s important for us, as
a music industry program, to bring a variety of artists that we know students will enjoy seeing.
Students should definitely keep on the look out for future performances by talented artists.”