, Newburyport, MA

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April 18, 2013

Taking center stage

Classical guitarist, 12, to perform at Firehouse

And to think it all started with the song “Secret Agent Man.”

Newbury Elementary School sixth-grader and classical guitarist Quentin Callewaert has a big evening ahead of him Wednesday. He will share the stage with Naxos recording artist Adam Levin during a concert at the Firehouse in downtown Newburyport.

“It’s going to be fun,” the 12-year-old said of his gig. “Because a lot of my friends from school will be there and some of our teachers will be there as well.”

Quentin plays both classical and steel string guitar. As an 8-year-old, he asked his father, Alan, to show him some tips.

“(Quentin) wanted to play, and I laughed at him,” Callewaert said. “He was just too small, I thought, for the guitar. But he insisted. So, I said, let’s try (television theme song) ‘Secret Agent Man’ and he picked it up really quickly. So, then we played other songs, and he was going really fast.”

Quentin was playing so well that he performed his first show as a fourth-grader, just one year after he started plucking the strings.

“It was the first time I ever played in front of a big audience like that, so I was pretty nervous,” Quentin said of his performance at a benefit for local troops.

“I wasn’t used to it. I started my first piece and I couldn’t really play it,” he added. “So, my dad then asked me if I wanted to still play. Then he gave it a moment and walked away. When he came back, I told him I wanted to play. After that, I played, and it went pretty well.”

Since then, Quentin has performed at the troop benefit every year. He also gave a solo concert for his classmates last spring.

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