NORTHDALE — When Luis Rosado-Bermudez got his new guitar in April, he was unable to uncurl his fingers from its mahogany neck. He ignored homework to strum.
"The sound is amazing," he said. "It has a wide range of dynamics, so the music is so expressive."
The guitar came about after a story ran in the Tampa Bay Times about the 17-year-old, who was playing on a practice guitar borrowed from Blake High School and was nearing graduation. His teacher said he would need a concert-quality guitar to pursue his dream.
About 45 people donated to pay for the $3,000 guitar, made by Chinese luthier Yulong Guo of materials including Indian rosewood.
Luis was so grateful he decided to give something back. He sent out 45 invitations to donors for a free concert at the school at 6:30 p.m. Monday. The public is also welcome. Luis will perform some of his favorite pieces, learned through his four years in Blake's performing arts program.
Luis practices at least four hours a day, and his tastes echo music from his heritage, which he traces to Spain.
When he plays a flamenco rhythm, his peers sometimes ask where he learned it.
"I don't know," he says. "I feel like it comes naturally to me."
Luis lives with his mother, a college student studying to be a chemistry teacher, and stepfather, a self-employed handyman. They have three more children at home.
Extra money for instruments and music competitions is scarce, so sometimes his guitar teacher at Blake, John Parris, covered fees for Luis to compete. Luis ranked in the top 4 percent of competitors last year at the National YoungArts Foundation.
The guitarmaker, or luthier, who made his guitar is a newcomer, and Luis expects his guitar will become even more valuable. It's his prized possession and he plans to take it to Florida State University, where he has a music scholarship and will start June 19.
Ultimately, he plans to tour the world performing.
Elisabeth Parker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 226-3431.