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Alumnus Nominated As a Top Guitarist

by Office of Marketing | April 28, 2014
Trevor Gordon Hall
Trevor Gordon Hall ‘07 was nominated as one of the top 30 guitarists around the world under the age of 30 by Acoustic Guitar magazine. The list consisted of the top 30 new guitarists impressing the acoustic guitar world with their unique styles. Hall’s sound is created by the combination of two instruments, a kalimba and an acoustic guitar, that create his custom-designed “kalimbatar.”

The kalimba is a rhythmic African instrument also known as a “thumb piano.” The original design is a wooden rectangular box with metal tines that when struck make a chime sound that resonates through the box and the surface on which the kalimba is set. Hall designed his own kalimba that resembles a piano by shaping the tines to differ in length. Longer tines play lower notes, and shorter tines play higher notes. The result is a kalimba that can play any song and melody.

In 2008, Hall experimented with setting the kalimba on the body of his acoustic guitar. The kalimba resonated through the guitar, adding a unique sound to the strumming and picking of the guitar. Experimenting with new instruments and new sounds led Hall to push boundaries in the world of acoustic music, a concept Hall developed as a student at Valley Forge Christian College (VFCC) where he majored in theological studies and studied music.

While music is sometimes seen as a topic of controversy in the church, Hall sees theology and music as integrated subjects. “To me, music is about learning to make sense of the giant questions of life and the culture around you and express it in a certain way,” Hall said. “In theology, in philosophy, those disciplines are much the same when trying to wrestle giant questions.”

Hall explained that there is a fear of how honest and bare music can be, the same way that there is a fear of struggling with challenging theological questions. To him, part of being human is pushing the unknown, which equates to exploring theology and music outside of his comfort zone. Hall learned he did not have to choose between one and the other; theology can touch music in an integrated dialogue that Hall hopes to “in the small sphere of influence in my life, ignite and keep going.”

After graduating from VFCC, Hall began teaching guitar as an adjunct professor at his alma mater. He is grateful for the amount of theological and musical knowledge he gained and finds fulfillment in teaching at the college. He also teaches guitar through Skype to people from around the U.S., Europe, Canada, Mexico and Israel.

Hall was attending a trade show earlier this year when he met one of the Acoustic Guitar magazine editors. The editor mentioned the possibility of incorporating Hall in the magazine, but Hall had not heard anything about this possibility until he saw the article with his name in it. 

Growing up, Hall dreamed of appearing in a guitar magazine and is grateful for the nomination. He humbly sees the nomination as an indication of his growth but not his final goal. He explained, “It’s kind of like a sign post along the way that I’m heading in the right direction, but that’s not my destination.”

Hall’s journey carries on. “I’m just hoping that I continue to grow,” he said. In the coming months, he will record a new album, continue touring and further develop his music.

To learn more about Trevor Gordon Hall’s music and show dates, visit http://www.trevorgordonhall.com.