(Left to right) Joel Huaco, Nicole Hajewski, Michael Crisafi and Christina Hiromoto preforming "Danças Populares Brasileiras" as a guitar quartet. (Brianna Kennedy)

Four purple chairs sat centered on a wooden stage between two red velvet curtains.

An audience of family, friends and fellow musicians piled into the auditorium and filled up all available seats.

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UCF’s classical guitar students put on their end-of-semester concert Thursday night in the Rehearsal Hall Auditorium in front of an audience of about 100 people performing pieces they had been rehearsing all semester. The event gave students the opportunity to prepare for their future and show the public what the arts department does.

The musicians, dressed in all black, took turns in the spotlight, their wooden guitars in hand. Each solo and ensemble passionately filled the room with classical music. The audience’s eyes are glued to the stage as they watch in silence.

“People are really paying attention because it is such a quiet instrument and it’s really intimate, so you have to kind of lean in to listen and I think that’s really nice,” said Danielle Buckles, an audience member and sophomore piano performance major.

Each musician finished their performance with a bow followed by roaring applause.

“If you just throw us out there in the future we’re probably going to die of fright or something so it’s put on for the public to be entertained, to know what we do and for us to gain some experience,” said Zachary Harriott, a freshman classical guitar performance major.

Harriott performed a solo of the classical pieces “Adelita” and “María” by Francisco Tarrega.

To play classical music, musicians use a special guitar made with nylon strings. It is similar to an acoustic guitar but cannot be bought in a store.

“You have to go to the luthier or guitar maker and they make a guitar for you,” said Caitlin Caggiano, a senior classical guitar performance major. “It can be quite expensive.”

Caggiano’s performance in the concert was her last studio performance before she graduates this December. She performed a duet called “Tango Suite” by Astor Piazzolla and a solo with three pieces from West Side Story.

The event was free, open to the public and consisted of one hour and 45 minutes of performances with a five-minute intermission. The musicians ranged from freshman to students working toward their masters. For freshmen, it was their first performance at UCF, a monumental moment for them, Harriott said.

“I have extreme pride,” said Tamera Harriott, Zachary’s mother. “This is the first time we’ve seen them play solo pieces on stage and I sit there and I go ‘wow, he can do this, this is amazing.”

The students had four weeks to learn their pieces before they had to run them by their professor, Dr. Eladio Scharron.

“They have to practice a lot and they have to add new repertoire throughout the semester,” said Dr. Scharron.

The preparation for this event started three weeks into the semester and the musicians rehearsed at least twice a week, Caggiano said.

“There was lots of practice, late nights, and copious amounts of Starbucks coffee,” said Harriott.

This was the only classical group studio guitar event of the semester but there will be another at the end of Spring 2018.

“They need to perform,” said Scharron. “Music is essentially about performance, music is the art of performing.”