Produced by WNED in partnership with the
University at Buffalo Center For The Arts



Buffalo, New York - Winning a cash prize of $1500, a Gibson ES335 Vintage Sunburst guitar valued at $3600, a Traynor amplifier (worth $899), the first Tommy Tedesco Award and the opportunity to play at the Great Guitar Gig on Sunday at Buffalo’s Erie Basin Marina, Chris McHardy of Toronto, Ontario was named the winner out of five finalists who competed at the North American Rock Guitar Competition this afternoon. The event, which was co-presented by the University at Buffalo Center for the Arts and WNED took place as part of the second annual WNED Buffalo Niagara Guitar Festival at U.B’s Center for the Arts.

McHardy has been in the music industry for more than 20 years, but said winning the competition was the furthest thing from his mind: “The competition came along at the right time for me, because I had been looking to get back performing full time again. The main reason I entered was just to have the chance to play at the Guitar Festival. At first I was just happy to hear that I had been selected as a finalist, but this really feels great.”

The judges who determined the winner of the NORTH AMERICAN ROCK GUITAR COMPETITION before a sold-out audience were: Sid McGinnis, lead guitarist of the band for Late Night With David Letterman; Troy Nelson, Editor-in-Chief of Guitar One magazine; Tawgs Salter, from Sony Music Canada; Mike Voltz, manager of Gibson Guitar’s Entertainment Relations Division; and Doug Yeomans, 2001 North American Rock Guitar Competition winner. Criteria for judging included technique/accuracy, range and variety, choice of material, melodic and rhythmic creativity, overall artistry/musical expression and stage presence.

The top five finalists are:
 1. Chris McHardy, Toronto, Ontario (1st place)
 2. Nori Bucci, Niagara Falls, New York (2nd place)
 3. Jack Civiletto, Buffalo, New York (3rd place)
 4. Cory Brammer, Lynchburg, Virginia (Finalist)
 5. Jason Miller, Calabasas, California (Finalist)

The other four finalists were: Cory Brammer of Lynchburg, Virginia; Nori Bucci of Niagara Falls, New York; Jack Civiletto of Buffalo, New York; and Jason Miller of Los Angeles, California.

Panels of music educators, musicians and industry representatives selected the five finalists in May from over 100 entries. To be eligible, entrants could not have (now or in the past) a contract with a major record label.



Chris McHardy, the 2002 North American Rock Guitar Champion, has been involved in the music business for over 25 years. At the age of seven, he picked up his first stringed instrument, a hybrid of the American Banjo and the traditional Hawaiian Ukulele. With Banjo Ukulele in hand, he was soon jamming in the basement with his father's Bluegrass and Country bands, instilling in him a deep appreciation for Roots Music that can be heard in his playing today.

This early musical exposure also showed Chris that he possessed a keen ear for rhythm and melody. He started composing his own songs while still a pre-teen, and by the time he finished high school he was working full-time as a Guitar Player/Song Writer. He started out performing at local area clubs with a number of Rockabilly and Country Bands and progressed to playing arenas and showcase venues throughout the United States and Canada, performing everything from Top 40 Rock & Roll to Classic Blues.

In the late 1980's, Chris moved to Toronto to continue his musical career. He played with several local Blues and R&B bands while hosting acoustic jams and guitar workshops. He also wrote and recorded an instrumental CD of original Jazz-Fusion songs.

In 1994, Chris decided to go to Europe to promote his CD. He toured France and the Benelux countries, performing his original music along with popular Blues/Rock covers for enthusiastic audiences. He sold out numerous concert venues, and appeared in several Summer festivals, quickly becoming a favored Guitarist with Western European music fans.

Chris is very excited about being the 2002 North American Rock Guitar Champion, and eagerly looks forward to performing for Rock & Roll fans across Canada and the United States in the coming year.


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