Guitarmaggedon plans an eighties-themed performance

November 9, 2023

By Ella Onuoha, Staff Writer

November 9, 2023

Guitarmageddon (GMAG), a guitar-oriented performance group, is set to perform in the Evans Student Center on Nov. 14 at 8 p.m. The event is free and expected to be lively. The show is traditionally held at the end of each semester by Ouachita guitar and bass music majors in conjunction with the music industry program.

GMAG’s unique name attracts attention from people because of its play on creativity and its representation of an overwhelming sense. Dr. Bruce Johnston, director of the program named the program almost by accident.

“The original concept was everyone playing on every song, which was quite an overwhelming guitar aesthetic. So, I jokingly called it Guitarmaggedon, and it just kind of stuck,” Johnston said.

The guitar show is held at the end of each semester by the OBU guitar and bass music majors in conjunction with the music program.

GMAG started seven years ago with Johnston on the drums, four guitarists and a bass player. It has impressively grown over the years. There are currently eight guitarists, two bass players and six dedicated singers. Although a lot of things have changed, Johnston still remains a constant. 

“I still lead them from behind with the drum set,” Johnston explained. “My dad was a drummer… it’s something I’ve grown up with, and I have found out it is the best way to lead an ensemble.” 

The rehearsal time is tasking because of the complexity of the performance. Sometimes students feel as though they have taken on more than they can accomplish. “We get an hour a week to rehearse the ensemble,” Johnston said. “This makes it even more realistic to simulate a one-off performance scenario. We inevitably end up biting more than we can chew when it comes to the amount of material and difficulty, but this just ends up making their success even more fun to revel in because of their work and determination.”

Brynn Clark, a senior music industry major involved in GMAG, revealed that in recent years GMAG has had a subtle shift in its performance and feel as a result of their creative flow in practice. 

“In the last few years, [GMAG] has begun to shift to incorporate more vocal songs to involve singers from the music industry department,” Clark said. “This makes the event even bigger.”

This semester’s performance is different from its predecessor performances, as the original intent of this event was to play songs that you will find yourself playing at wedding receptions or corporate party gigs. However, this semester comes with a theme. 

“We’re playing only songs from the eighties,” Johnston said.  “It’s still going to be an eclectic mix of the songs in the tradition of the previous shows, but it was fun to find songs from the eighties that would work for us.” 

Featured music in the show includes songs by popular artists Michael Jackson, Stevie Nicks and Prince, which has created an exciting atmosphere of anticipation from the members.

With the students’ enthusiasm and work being put into this, Johnston has been with them every step of the way, and will continue to be during this unique performance.

“I try to make it a special point to play with them because I remember my favorite moments of being a music major were the times that my professors and mentors would actually play on the ensembles with the students,” Johnston said. “Nothing can replace those experiences or memories.” 

With the great deal of evident hard work poured into this event, the turnout is expected to be impressive.

“It is bound to be the biggest one yet,” Clark said. “So, we are really looking forward to making it happen.”

For more information on Guittarmaggedon, contact Dr. Bruce Johnston at

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