World’s Top Champan Stick Guitarist to Play at Hopmonk Wed May 24th At free courtyard concert 5:30-8, Chapman master Bob Culbertson & drummer Rick Alegria perform "Peace Through Music" show

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On Wednesday, May 24, 2023,  Sonoma County residents will have a chance to see one of the world’s best touch guitarists play in an extraordinary free concert in the courtyard of Sebastopol’s Hopmonk Tavern.

Bob Culbertson, who also lives in Sebastopol, is widely considered one of the most talented players of the 12-string Chapman stick guitar. He was introduced to the the unique instrument by it’s California inventor, Emmet Chapman, in 1971. Since then, he has traveled the world performing music. His style ranges from Celtic, Spanish, Eastern and Classical to the Blues and the Beatles. Besides the Chapman stick, Culbertson will be playing other rare world instruments that he has mastered, such as the Didgeridoo, Hand Pan and Shruti Box. Often at the same time!

Joining Bob is drummer Rick Alegria. Rick is an accomplished drummer who worked with greats such as Bo Didley, Joan Osborn, and Elvis Costello. He was inducted into the Western Swing Hall of Fame in 2016. Together the two have over 100 years of professional experience.

Culbertson says that the concept for his music is to show a harmonic unity among his repertoire. He uses sound as a metaphor for world unity. The concert is billed as “Peace Through Music.” Sebastopol, also known as Peacetown, has long been a center for antiwar activism and tolerance.

“What stood out for me during my travels as a musician is, no matter what country or culture I performed in, there was this universal connection through music.”

He has reached many through his music; on YouTube his videos have been watched more than 15,000,000 times, and he has sold 250,000 CD’s. His cover of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”, watchable below, has garnered over 10,000,000 views in the last 6 months.

The concert will be 5:30 – 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday, May 24 at Hopmonk Tavern in Sebastopol. There is no cover charge. See more of Bob Culberton’s music here or listen to him play “Strait Of Gibraltar” below.

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Tim Ryan

Tim Ryan is the Managing Editor of the Sonoma Independent and the COO of the Sonoma Independent's parent organization, Progressive Source Communications. He writes stories on climate, elections, housing, and local news.

Tim joined Progressive Source Communications in early 2019 as an outreach coordinator working on the Candidates Video Debate project. He has worked on many of Progressive Source’s projects, including managing marketing for the Inform Your Vote project, which covered the New York City Mayoral election of 2021. Currently, in addition to day to day operations, he often serves as an account or project manager for Progressive Source projects, such as the recent Portola Wood Stove Changeout Campaign and the California Air Resources Board, Fundamentals of Air Quality Series.

In 2017, he graduated with honors from Cal Poly Humboldt, earning a bachelor’s degree in sociocultural anthropology with a minor in psychology. As an undergraduate, he received institutional approval and grant funding to conduct ethnographic research on the 2016 presidential election, later presenting this research at symposia. He was a founding member of the Humboldt County Ethnographic Archive, which is now permanently housed on campus.

Before joining Progressive Source, Tim worked in social services for the county Department of Health and Human Services in Humboldt County, CA. He was also an assistant field manager for the local environmental political action committee, Sonoma County Conservation Action. He is passionate about social equity, labor, and environmental issues.

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