Harrison County

Guitarist who has performed for two Popes will be in Biloxi on Sunday

Giovanni ‘John’ DeChiaro will perform classical guitar pieces Oct. 1 at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church in Biloxi.
Giovanni ‘John’ DeChiaro will perform classical guitar pieces Oct. 1 at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church in Biloxi. Courtesy Giovanni DeChiaro

For Giovanni “John” DeChiaro, a good slogan would be “have classical guitar, will travel.”

The retired University of Southern Mississippi professor’s latest recording features him performing the Concierto De Chiaro with the London Symphony Orchestra. He’ll discuss the latest recording and perform at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 1, at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church, 2090 Pass Road, Biloxi. Admission is free for the concert.

DeChiaro taught classical guitar at the USM for 25 years. After retirement, he became professor of classical guitar at Louisiana College in Pineville, Louisiana. As artist in residence for the Rapides Parish School System in Alexandria, Louisiana, he developed a string program. He is the founder and director of the Carlow Choir, a vocal ensemble which has presented concerts of sacred music throughout the United States, Ireland and Italy. He retired from teaching two years ago and now focuses on concerts.

While the Carlow Choir was in Italy, the members performed for Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican in Rome. It was almost deja vu for DeChiaro; he also performed for Pope John Paul II at the Vatican. He made his Carnegie Hall debut in 1976, with seven solo recitals there altogether, and has recorded two nationally televised programs for PBS. He was also featured on the National Public Radio program "All Things Considered" discussing and performing several of his Scott Joplin transcriptions.

“Concierto De Chiaro” was written for DeChiaro by Kermit Poling, associate conductor of the Shreveport Symphony and music director of the South Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, the Marshall Symphony Orchestra and the Shreveport Metropolitan Ballet. The two met while performing for pledge drives for an NPR station in Louisiana.

DeChiaro has recorded his guitar transcriptions of the complete works of Scott Joplin, two Christmas CDs, a Broadway collection, a wedding album and a collection of his guitar transcriptions of orchestral masterpieces.

Tammy Smith: 228-896-2130, @Simmiefran1