Coronado High School’s “Welcome Stone”

Coronado High School is a public school located in Henderson, Nevada, a suburb of Las Vegas.  Coronado is the largest high school in the State of Nevada with over 3500 students.  The Coronado Guitar Program focuses on guitar as a multi-faceted instrument. Several styles and genres are explored throughout the curriculum from strumming popular music and improvising jazz to strict classical repertoire. At the completion of the program, students have a well-rounded repertoire with a solid classical foundation. Beyond the development of their technical abilities, the curriculum enhances the student’s concept of musicianship through performance, critical listening, and attendance to professional performance events.  The program ensembles perform seasonal concerts on campus and travel to many local festivals and events. They perform annually at the Loyola Marymount University Guitar Festival in Los Angeles.  Although the program serves over 150 enrolled students, each student is provided performing opportunities on top of their extensive ensemble performance schedule.

The Coronado Guitar Program has received recognition both locally and nationally.  Five students were selected for the inaugural NAfME National Honor Guitar Ensemble in 2018.  Coronado qualified more students for that ensemble than any other school in the nation.  The CHS Advanced Guitar Ensemble won 1st Place in the Guitar Foundation of America (GFA) National Competition in the K-12 Large Ensemble category in 2016.  Coronado proudly hosted a Guitar Foundation of America Symposium in 2015.  Coronado Guitar is also currently in the process of receiving a prestigious GFA Certification.

A group of CHS guitarists backstage at the Smith Center for Performing Arts
Students enjoying a flamenco workshop by world-class guitarist, Grisha Goryachev

Students in the Coronado Guitar Program have had the pleasure of receiving ensemble clinics and technique workshops from world-class guitarists and educators such as Mak Grgic (USC), Mark Eden and Chris Stell (of the Eden Stell Duo and Birmingham Conservatoire), Gaelle Solal (Conservatory of Seville), Gyan Riley (San Francisco Conservatory of Music) and many others. Students have also attended the masterclasses of Andy McKee, Andrew York, Hubert Kappel, Paul Galbraith, Marcin Dylla, David Leisner, and the world-reknown Pepe Romero.

Alumni of the CHS Guitar Program have gone on to successful pursuits after high school.  Class of 2007 alumnus Frank Sidoris went on to become the touring guitarist for Slash.  For his story, read [this article] in the Las Vegas Weekly about his career.  Class of 2008 alumnus Robert Zakaryan went on play lead guitar in the commercially successful band, Adelita’s Way. Class of 2012 alumnus Nate Hauck received a full scholarship to Utah State University to study guitar and is now in graduate studies at San Francisco Conservatory. Are you an alumnus from the program that went on to success? Contact Dr. Nishimoto to be featured.

Dr. Matthew Nishimoto teaches the guitar classes and is the director for the ensembles. The 2018-19 school year will be his 16th year teaching at Coronado High School.  In his many years at CHS and in CCSD, Dr. Nishimoto has worn many hats: Guitar Teacher, Guitar Pedagogy Mentor, CCSD Guitar Curriculum Committee Chairperson, Head Varsity Wrestling Coach, Unicycle Club Advisor, Administrative Intern, Conditional Enrollment Mentor, among many others.  This year he will be donning a new hat: Advanced Orchestra Director.

Dr. Nishimoto received a Bachelor of Arts in Music with emphasis on classical guitar and education from UNLV, where he also received a M.Ed. in Educational Leadership and a Ph.D. in Teacher Education.   His scholarly works have been featured as a book chapter in The Wiley Handbook of Teaching and Learning, a lecture at the 2016 International Convention of the Guitar Foundation of America with a follow up article in Soundboard: The Journal of the GFA, and several conference presentations including the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, the Conference on Academic Research in Education, and the Ethnographic and Qualitative Research Conference.  Nishimoto Publishing, owned by Dr. Nishimoto, provides the bulk of instruction materials for the CHS Guitar Program. Nishimoto Publishing also licenses use of its materials to many other schools in CCSD.

Dr. Nishimoto was appointed the Education Coordinator for the Guitar Foundation of America in 2018. In this role he coordinates GFA’s education initiatives and works with parallel music education organizations to further the cause of guitar education. Read more on these initiatives at guitarfoundation.org