Meet our 2019 Rock Category Prize Sponsor and Rock Category final competition round judge John Shiely! In addition to serving as director of the BMO Finance Corp. and BMO Harris Bank, Quad/Graphics, Inc., and Oshkosh Corporation, Shiely is also on the corporate board of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, as well as the former CEO of Briggs & Stratton. Check out a conversation between Shiely and Festival Social Media Assistant Julia Lewandowski below, and then head over to our Festival website at wcguitarfest.com to check out the full schedule of Festival events!
Julia: Why do you believe it is important to support the arts?
John: Arts are generally aimed at the soul, not the mind. I believe arts are required for the well-being of a community.
J: What specifically drew you to the Wilson Center Guitar Festival?
JS: I’ve played guitar all my life, but as Roy Orbison said: “No matter how hard I tried, my guitar-playing never got any better after age 19.” I was drawn to the Wilson Festival because it features truly outstanding instrumentalists. I have to admit, I often leave the Festival with an inferiority complex.
J: This ties somewhat into the question above - what do you hope the Festival will provide either to the competitors, the audiences who are coming to the show, the community, etc...
JS: The Festival provides competitors with the opportunity to showcase their talents and audiences with the opportunity to hear truly outstanding guitar work.
Julia: Do you have a message for this years’ competitors/festival goers?
JS: Same as Aaron Rodgers: R-E-L-A-X. We find that the performances are most outstanding if the competitors just get into their instruments.
Written by: Julia Lewandowski, Festival Social Media Assistant