I know many of you who follow me already know this but I am so happy to announce that two weeks ago I won the 2015 International Fingerstyle Guitar Competition at the Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield, KS.  The competition level was very high this year with the Japanese Champion being there, the Taiwan Champion, the Canadian Guitar Festival winner, and three or four past winners of the International competition.  Of course many other great players that I know came too.  As each of these players walked in I couldn't help but feel a bit intimidated and I would start to get competitive in my mind.  After all, I was a cross country runner.  I've explained how these competitions work before so I won't get into that.  Instead I want to share a bit about the other finalists, the generous people and companies who provided the great prizes, and the people who have helped me get here.  
There were five finalists including myself.  Second place went to Jack Wilson of Chicago, IL.  I've met Jack in this competition as well as the Indiana fingerstyle competition a number of times so it's always great talking with him.  Lance Allen of Nashville, TN took third place.  Lance and I have also gotten to know each other through these competitions.  The other two top five finalists were Keith Taylor and Momo Kimura.  Momo was this years Japanese Fingerstyle Champion.
Here's some of their videos for you to check out:
Lance Allen playing his original piece East Nashville
Keith Taylor playing his original piece Good Dog
Momo Kimura performing in the Japanese Fingerstyle competition.  
As the winner I received a number of generous prizes including a beautiful Bourgeois guitar - The Soloist OMC Model with a Walnut Valley inlay.  What an amazing instrument!  I had to pick between this, a 914CE Taylor guitar which was probably the nicest Taylor I've ever seen, and a Larrivee LV10E guitar which I always love the sound of Larrivees but I have one already.  The Bourgeois guitar had such an inspiring sound and I new the company makes some of the finest guitars so I couldn't pass it up.  I got back to the hotel late after the competition and was exhausted but had only played the guitar for about 10 seconds after the competition.  I pulled it out ended up playing for about a half hour.  I really could not believe the sound that came out of this instrument.  I'm so incredibly thankful to Dana Bourgeois and his team for offering this guitar in the competition.  I also received a custom capo by Elliot Capos, a custom hat from Hatman Jack, and a nice Fishman amp.
 
After winning I couldn't help but think that this award is not mine alone.  I think of all the people who helped me through my life to get to this point.  My wife has been an incredible support and makes many sacrifices for this music to happen.  My kids have helped me to grow and mature and to be inspired in a whole new way.  My parents have always supported me in everything I do and continue to sacrifice their time and resources to help me.  My mom even came to watch our boys while my wife and I left for 5 days for the festival.  I have had so many great friends and family who influenced me throughout my life to develop my creativity, patience, discipline, hard work, perseverance, love, honesty, and skills.  I also really appreciate Bryan Galloup's efforts in building me an amazing guitar last year.  The guitar was built to fit my style of playing and Bryan went to many efforts to listen to my music and really learn what I needed.  I used the guitar in the competition and Bryan's voice and passion were heard by everyone there.  
 
Now, if you'll allow me to vent for a minute.  This is to help me stay grounded and accountable.  While I am very grateful for this award, I do not seek to be a musician for awards and recognition.  Of course I can get caught up in it at times.  I am constantly reminded by God and others that I must use my God given gifts wisely.  My mission is to continue to share truth through music.  Music has a way of communicating like no other means and I've experienced how powerful this can be.  I believe with all my heart that God created this world and has a plan for all of us and that we are to love and serve God first and then each other.  This is far more complicated than this simple sentence and the Bible gives us all the detailed instructions we need. As I grow in my spiritual maturity I want to share the truths that I learn and experience for the sake of others.  I know I am far from perfect but any good that does come out of me is only God working through me.  Praise God for His mercy in picking us up and using us where we are at!
 
From left to right: Brian Henke, Dave Irwin, Helen Avakian (2014 International Champion), Chuck Wills, Kara Barnard, Lance Allen (3rd place), Jack Wilson (2nd place), Tim Thomposon, Me, Myles Thompson (2nd place National Mandolin Competition this year)

Comments

Preston Jones December 21, 2015 @04:23 am
 

What song(s) did you play during the competition? If you have the sheet music or tabs available for the song you played at the competition I would be very thankful if you emailed them to me. Keep Being Amazing

Tim List October 10, 2015 @04:24 pm
 

David, I saw you in Troy Ohio at the 6=string x three. event. I got your trust cd there and the music you performed there and on the cd have an incredible way of bringing me back to right thinking when life gets me all wound up. Thank you for what you do and keep on picking as the Lord calls you. Amen Brother.

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2015 International Fingerstyle Guitar Champion

2015 Indiana Fingerstyle Guitar Winner