Archive for Thursday, June 14, 2007

9-year-old helps rock to world record

June 14, 2007

From the old to the young, to the experienced to the novice, it didn't matter; the only requirement was a love of rock.

With an official head count of 1,721, participants of the KYYS-FM radio station-sponsored event took part in attempting to break the Guinness World Record for the largest guitar ensemble to ever play.

This mass of guitarists assembled Sunday, June 3, at the CommunityAmerica Ballpark in Kansas City, Kan., to play the song "Smoke on the Water," by Deep Purple.

"It really gave you cold chills when you heard it," said Tanna Guthrie, 99.7 KY disc jockey and creator of the event.

Guthrie said she got the idea after reading an article about people in London who tried to do the same thing but couldn't pull it off. She said she thought it would be a lot of fun and was worth a shot.

For one Lansing resident, it wasn't the record-breaking experience he will always remember, but the chance to play in front of such a large audience.

Tanner Holden, 9, Lansing, was the 685th participant into the stadium, which is home of the T-Bones. After a few initial nerves he said, "it felt really cool" to be there participating in the event.

Six months ago, Tanner's father, Justin Holden, started teaching him to play the guitar. The first song he ever learned was "Smoke on the Water," and Tanner said it's still his favorite song to play.

His performance at the T-Bones game wasn't his first gig, however. A while ago during a family garage sale, Tanner set up his guitar and played "Smoke of the Water" for shoppers. He got several donations but said playing for that small crowd was nothing compared to the number of people at the T-Bones game.

In addition to the large audience, Tanner said how loud the song sounded when everyone played it was "pretty cool" too. He liked that even though he hadn't been playing the guitar for very long he was still able to participate.

This was only the starting off point for Tanner. He said one day he would like to get together a band of his own and write songs.

The radio station has sent off its application along with three certified letters from city officials to the Guinness World Record office. Guthrie said she hoped to hear back in the next couple of weeks if they were able to officially break the record.

The current record is held by a group of 1,322 people in Vancouver, Canada, back in 1994.

But even if the event doesn't go down in the record books, Guthrie said in an unplanned gesture at the end of the song, all the participants showed her how special the event really was.

"At the very end all the guitarists just raised their guitars to the heavens and for a moment they were all rocks stars."

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