Encinitas guitarists heading to Iceland for performance

Five women will venture to Iceland to represent the Encinitas Guitar Orchestra in an international ensemble.

Lisa Margolin, Cecily Holcomb, Magda Phillips, Conny Berry and Amiko Gubbins will travel to the Nordic island country for a week-long trip, beginning June 23, to play alongside 20 musicians from various countries.

“There’s something really magical about making music with other people,” said Margolin, a 12-year guitarist who lives in Encinitas. “As classical guitarists, sometimes we don’t have an opportunity to play with too many others. We do [have that opportunity] in this setting in Encinitas, which is amazing, and now we get to take that to a completely different place. It expands our musical horizons, and it’s just really amazing to play with other people, especially on a traditionally solo instrument.”

Margolin said the group was invited to join in on the Iceland performance after playing a concert at Zion National Park last year.

Berry said even though the Encinitas players might not speak the same language as the other guitarists, they all share a common bond.

“Music is a language unto itself,” said the four-year guitarist from Carlsbad. “When you speak music, there’s just a connection.”

The players have been rehearsing since January, including using FaceTime on iPads to play with musicians on the East Coast.

Gubbins has seen the rehearsals and the upcoming trip as ways to get to know her fellow players. She noted that the guitarists generally only see each other at rehearsals and performances.

“We’re going to get a lot closer because there’s an intimacy that you share in traveling,” said the 12-year guitarist from Clairemont. “You let down your guard. To me, it’s an opportunity to get to know these ladies.”

The quintet will prepare for the trip, in part, by playing a concert with the full 35-member Encinitas Guitar Orchestra on May 25 at Bethlehem Lutheran Church, 925 Balour Drive, in Encinitas.

The concert, which begins at 7:30 p.m. and is titled “Guitar Anthology: A Trip Around the World,” will include the four-movement piece, called “Around the World,” that the women will perform in Iceland. Admission is a suggested donation of $12.

The May 25 concert features a variety of guitar music, all adapted for an orchestra. Guitarists — ranging from novice to more experienced musicians — are divided into four to eight sections with multiple players on each part.

Peter Pupping, who founded the Encinitas Guitar Orchestra 14 years ago, said the trip shows the growth of his program. This is the first international trip, in any capacity, for his orchestra.

“In the last two years, we’ve really developed,” he said. “We’ve formed an advanced group as well. We’ve really come a long way.”

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