Guitar Faculty

Michael DeLalla
For almost three decades, guitarist/composer Michael DeLalla has forged a distinguished performing, recording and teaching career tempered by his belief that music(s) found around the globe share certain artistic principles. Along with his training as a classical guitarist, these influences find their way into Michael’s compositions, concerts and workshops.

Michael received both his Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees from The Conservatory at Shenandoah University in Winchester VA. He studied with John Marlow, Glenn Caluda, and Pierre Bensusan, to name a few. His performing career includes solo concerts and tours nationwide as well as overseas. His recordings—four solo guitar CDs, one with the World Music ensemble Oxymora, and three with the Celtic trio The Unfortunate Rakes have received critical acclaim and airplay worldwide. Michael is also highly sought after in the studio, both as a guitarist and as a producer: he has appeared as a guest artist on over 40 recordings, and has over 100 titles to his production credits. He is also founder of Falling Mountain Music, an independent record label dedicated to acoustic music of all kinds, now in its 21st year.  

Michael also teaches in a variety of settings. He taught for over twenty years at Shenandoah University, including private guitar lessons to both major and minor students, Beginning Guitar Class, Recording Practicum, Guitar Studio Class, Guitar Consorts and Guitar Ensemble. Also while at SU he regularly presented seminars to students in the Music Production and Recording Technology and Arts Management degree programs with an emphasis on building promotional tools, artists’ resources, and professional networking.

He is also active as a clinician and leader of workshops. Besides his workshops dealing with all facets of guitar technique, he presents workshops on Composition, Improvisation, the Creative Process, and a variety of topics dealing with the music business. In 2008 he presented a workshop titled “Strategies for Teaching Improvisation to Classically Trained Student Musicians” to the International Society of Improvised Music.  

After thirty years in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, Michael now resides outside of Boulder CO in the lovely village of Niwot. He serves on the faculty at Front Range Community College teaching  Jazz History, Music Appreciation, World Music, Music Theory, and of course, Guitar.

Keith Filppu
Keith Filppu is a classical guitarist and guitar teacher based in Winchester, VA. He is an adjunct professor of guitar at Shenandoah University, where he teaches private lessons. He is an adjunct professor of music at Lord Fairfax Community College, where he teaches private lessons, group guitar, music theory and music history courses. He also teaches guitar lessons to students of all ages at the Shenandoah Conservatory Arts Academy and in his private studio.

For the past few years, he has been on the guitar faculty of the PAVAN Regional Governor’s School program. In addition to teaching, Keith is an active performer locally in a flute and guitar duo, the Cedar Creek Duo, and also as a soloist.

He has published two works of music with Clear Note Publications, Early American Waltzes, which consists of works he compiled and edited for solo guitar, and Cuentos De La Juventud by Enrique Granados, which Keith arranged for flute and guitar. One of his upcoming publications, an original composition for guitar trio entitled Emilio’s March, was performed at Yale University’s Guitar Extravaganza in March 2012. He has also worked as a music engraver for Clear Note Publications. Keith has written articles published in the Washington Guitar Society newsletter and Guitar Teacher magazine.            

Keith holds a Master of Music degree in guitar performance from Shenandoah University, and a Bachelor of Music degree in guitar performance with a minor in writing and rhetoric from James Madison University. His principle teachers are Glenn Caluda, Risa Carlson, Kevin Vigil, and Keith Stevens.

Kevin Vigil

Prior to his position at Heritage High School, Kevin Vigil spent fifteen years as a classical guitar teacher, performer, composer, organizer and author. His teaching positions included The Washington Conservatory of Music, The Levine School of Music, and Northern Virginia Community College. He has performed at Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and multiple concerts with his wife Barbara (flute/piccolo). Radio performances include Latin Loure (Memphis, TN), Live in Studio C (Nashville, TN), An Hour with the Guitar (Richmond, VA) and G Strings (Washington, DC). Television performances include “Kevin Vigil, A Guitar Shop Christmas” (News Channel 8) and as a special guest on Food 911 with Tyler Florence (Food Network).

Vigil incorporated the Washington Guitar Society in 1994 and acted as president for that organization from 1994 – 1997.  In this role, he organized monthly performances and workshops for amateurs, students, and professions and was an editor for the monthly newsletter. From 2003 – 2005 he served as the Washington Representative for the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music. His duties included facilitating musical examinations for all instruments and hosting the various examiners from the UK.

Vigil’s interest in secondary school guitar programs began when he met John Graham (Lake Braddock Secondary School, FCPS) in 1991. Over the years he performed for, coached, and traveled with Graham’s students. Vigil and Graham’s book, Guitar 101 was published in 2008 and is used in many secondary schools as well as colleges and universities across the US.

On April 27, 2005, Dr. Vigil was invited to be a performer/clinician for the LCPS Guitar Festival. It was during the lunch break that Jim Harmon (former LCPS Music Supervisor) informed Vigil of several guitar openings for the following school year. Without hesitation, Vigil applied for a position. He joined the faculty of Heritage High School in 2005 and has remained there ever since.

Over the last several years, Dr. Vigil has become a strong advocate for music and guitar education. He has presented lectures on guitar education at Yale University, James Madison University and for the Guitar Foundation of America. He has also presented a lecture titled, “The Brain, Intelligence Theories, and Teaching Guitar: Creating Pathways for Student Success” for the GFA Conference in Los Angeles and for the Philadelphia Guitar Society Festival.

Several of Vigil’s former students have careers in music as teachers, performers, music therapists, and organizers. His students have been accepted to many colleges and universities including the Peabody Conservatory, the Eastman School of Music, Florida State University, Radford University, Virginia Commonwealth University, James Madison University, George Mason University, Mary Washington University and Shenandoah University among others.

Dr. Vigil was chosen at the 2014 Shenandoah University Teacher of the Year for Loudoun County Public Schools.