Special guests visit Ventura High School and perform a concert

Guy Martin and Jayden Secor visit Christian Gallo’s History of American Music class

On March 28, VHS teacher Christian Gallo brought special guest musicians Guy Martin ‘88 and Jayden Secor ‘20 to perform for his History of American Music class during period two. The two played guitar and sang for 30 minutes of the class, taking requests from students as well as answering questions about their instruments. 

Secor and Martin [left to right] play their concert in the front of Gallo’s classroom. “Guy’s been coming into [VHS] for pretty close to ten years now,” said Gallo. Photo by: Christian Gallo
Martin and Secor are VHS alumni. Martin was in the graduating class of 1988, along with Gallo, and Secor graduated in 2020. Both are now musicians playing gigs in the Ventura County area. Martin also owns a recording studio called Black Couch Studio in Ventura.

The two started the session with a freestyle blues jam, followed by “Crossroads” by Cream and “Pride and Joy” by Stevie Ray Vaughan. Secor and Martin also played an original song by Secor, “Moving Man.” After these songs, Martin and Secor took requests from the audience. Gallo requested “Sweet Home Alabama” by Lynyrd Skynyrd. To end the mini-concert, the two played “Mary Had a Little Lamb” by Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble. 

“I’ve only recorded at Guy’s [studio]. I did an EP in December of 2020, and I’ve had three singles since. I have a fourth one called “Stick shootin’ son of a gun” coming out on April 28,” said Secor. At 20 years old, Secor plays three to four gigs a week, including opening for the Guy Martin Band the weekend of March 31. 

Malia Callahan ‘24, who viewed the concert, said, “I loved [Martin and Secor’s concert]. Best performance of the year. They really shredded that guitar.”

Students sit in their seats to watch the duo perform. “The American music canon is so deep and diverse, and there is so much history tied to it that it’s really fascinating to me and hopefully students in the class will pick up on that as well and find it interesting and rewarding,” said Gallo. Photo by: Christian Gallo

The guest artists were not a surprise to Gallo’s class. “He usually tells us [about bands] before [they] come in,” said Callahan. 

            Gallo said, “​I think it’s important to see live music in a variety of styles that some students either have never seen live or wouldn’t have the chance to see live. Seeing live musicians can be inspiring to someone who aspires to one day play the guitar or who has started out recently on the instrument. Speaking from experience, when I was younger and just starting out, there are a few times that I recall where I saw certain musicians that really inspired me to pursue the instrument seriously. I think that’s important so that’s why I try to bring in guest musicians whenever I am able. Plus, it’s fun.”