Foothills Guitar Duo was formed in 2005 by Mike and Dena Zimmerman, a father-daughter classical guitar duo, and has performed in a variety of venues in the Colorado Springs area, to include the Colorado Springs Guitar Society, Stargazer’s Theatre, Mount St. Francis, several churches and retirement homes as well as private parties.
In 2011 after 6 years in the duo, Dena Zimmerman left to pursue a university degree, and Chelsea Smith joined the duo. Equally capable on the guitar, Chelsea has performed over 35 concerts, recently to include the Black Rose Acoustic Society, the Pikes Peak Arts Council Awards ceremony and the KCME Fall Arts Festival.
The duo plays a wide variety of music from Renaissance to contemporary on the classical guitar. In 2009 they recorded and privately released a CD “Musical Inspirations,” consisting of favorite hymns and sacred music. Foothills Guitar Duo also performs in conjunction with other guitarists in trio or ensemble.
Mike Zimmerman began playing classical guitar over 35 years ago. His love of music led him to the College of Music at the University of North Texas, one of the premiere music schools in the US, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Music (BM) degree and an all-level teaching certificate. As a Guitar instructor registered with the Suzuki Association of the Americas, he has attended Suzuki Teacher Training at the Chicago Suzuki Institute and the Colorado Suzuki Institute, where his instructors were David Madsen of Connecticut and Andrea Cannon of Texas. Mike also has a Master of Arts degree from Ball State University and is a certified K-12 Music teacher in both Colorado and Texas.
Mike has been a member of the Colorado Springs Guitar Society since 1999, shortly after moving into the Colorado Springs area and has been its President since 2001. He has been the director of the Colorado Springs Guitar Ensemble since 2000. In 2005 he founded the Foothills Guitar Duo, a classical guitar duo performing in the Colorado Springs area, playing a wide range of music from Renaissance to contemporary compositions.
Mike is the director of Foothills Guitar Studio that he opened in Colorado Springs in 2003, where he teaches classical guitar using the Suzuki Method to students ranging in age from 3 to adult. He has taught guitar enrichment classes in an Academy District 20 elementary school, and has been featured on KCME radio (88.7 FM) “Kids of Note” program with host Michael Campion, where he explained and demonstrated the classical guitar. Since 2008 he has been the substitute teacher for the guitar classes at Air Academy High School.
Chelsea Smith loved art and music from an early age, and has always demonstrated a special creative talent. After expressing a desire to learn an instrument, she began her musical training as a piano student. Several years later after demonstrating an enthusiasm for guitar, she also started studying Suzuki classical guitar. A guitarist since 2008, Chelsea has performed in over 35 concerts, recitals, and other events. She not only progresses in her Suzuki training, but performs with Mike Zimmerman as “Foothills Guitar Duo” and also with a classical guitar ensemble.
Currently a sophomore in high school and a straight-A-student, Chelsea participates in Honors classes and serves as the Editor-in-Chief of the school yearbook. In her free time she loves to ski, swim, read, cook, play piano and guitar, and spend time with friends and family. Chelsea has aspirations to pursue a career in the medical field, and also looks forward to a life full of music.