As a tour guide here at Lawrence, I mention the guitar studio whilst listing off the numerous instrumental studios about which our fine conservatory can boast, and I often get a laugh. I have always wondered why this was; even though we might not be producing the next Slash, I think the guitar studios are doing just fine. Take senior Evan Montgomery, for example. He worked his way up from a four-year-old playing a plastic ukulele with his father’s band to becoming a pillar of guitar-related excellence in our own conservatory. Drawn to Lawrence because of the standout faculty and “bad-ass” guitar professors, Montgomery has not spent his time here idly. He has played in numerous ensembles throughout the years and has even taken time off for professional gigs in Milwaukee, Appleton and Door County, playing with such diverse groups as an R&B/hip-hop group called Urban Sol, jazz trios and with the Jana Nyberg Group. He is actually featured on a CD recorded and released last spring by this last group — an accomplishment at any age. When asked if there were any particular artists that stood out as inspirational, Montgomery had quite a bit to say: “I’m inspired by a lot of artists and groups, and am constantly trying to find new music to stretch myself as an artist. If I had to pick a couple, it would be Django Reinhardt and Kurt Rosenwinke,” he said. “Everything from [Kurt’s] tone to his compositions is incredibly unique. I would encourage anybody who hasn’t heard of him to check him out on iTunes.” And next year? This guitarist plans to take some time off and potentially move to St. Paul where he will reunite with the rest of the Jana Nyberg Group and “establish myself as a professional musician out there before I go to grad school.” We’re glad you’ve moved on from the ukulele, Evan.