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Frank Vignola

Featured Article

Jazzed about the Tribute to Mel Bay Concert

Guitar Virtuoso Frank Vignola Will Perform A Concert Benefiting the Kirkwood Arts Commission Foundation Thursday, Dec. 1, at KPAC

Article by Beth Glennon

Photography by The Kirkwood Arts Commission Foundation

Originally published in Kirkwood City Lifestyle

If you learned to play guitar, you most likely learned the Mel Bay Modern Guitar Method. The legendary guitarist is best known for writing instructional books for budding guitar players. 

The Kirkwood Arts Commission Foundation proudly presents a Tribute to Mel Bay featuring jazz guitarist Frank Vignola on Thursday, Dec. 1, at 7:30 p.m. at the Kirkwood Performing Arts Center. The concert benefits the arts in Kirkwood. 

While Mel’s music store is no longer a part of downtown Kirkwood, his music continues to influence guitarists worldwide. International guitar virtuoso Frank Vignola attributes his success, in part, to his respect for Mel. 

“This benefit concert allows us to meet our mission on multiple levels,” said Zoe Perkins, Chair of the Kirkwood Arts Commission. “We could acknowledge Mel Bay’s legacy to the music world, bring an internationally known jazz guitarist to the Kirkwood Performing Arts Center and invite the Kirkwood high school jazz band to play in this professional venue.” Additionally, Frank is conducting a workshop for the high school jazz band. “They will have the opportunity to be coached by a globally known jazz musician,” Zoe stated. 

The concert, hosted by Ruth Ezell, senior producer at Nine PBS, will begin with the Kirkwood High School jazz band led by KHS Jazz Band Director Chris Bartz. Frank Vignola will take the stage to perform everything from jazz to pop as a tribute to the musical influence of Mel Bay. 

Frank has performed with musical icons Ringo Starr, Madonna, and Les Paul on the historical stages of the Sydney Opera House, Carnegie Hall, and Lincoln Center. 

“We are working with Bill Bay, Mel’s son, for this concert,” said Zoe. Bill is offering a special pressing of Frank Vignola Plays Gershwin CD that will be available for sale. “Both Bill and Frank have been so generous and committed to making this concert top-notch,” said Zoe. 

“There has been a lot of expansion of the arts under Zoe’s leadership,” said Art McDonnell, President of the Kirkwood Arts Foundation. The Kirkwood Arts Foundation supports the Kirkwood Arts Commission’s programming. “Kirkwood now has a visual arts program featuring four exhibitions a year at the Kirkwood Performing Arts Center, the Making Music Concert Series in the park, and our mural project. Some of the money raised from this benefit concert will support the Kirkwood High School jazz band. There are many possibilities for the future with additional funding.”  

Regular tickets start at $40. VIP ticket holders and sponsors receive an hour-long reception before the concert. David Kirkland of Turn restaurant will cater the event. For more information, visit

  • Frank Vignola
  • Kirkwood High School Jazz Band
  • Art McDonnell, Zoe Perkins, Christy Beckmann