The reason Lorraine Castellanos enrolled in Grossmont can be summed up in two words: Fred Benedetti.
“I wanted to get serious about guitar,” Castellanos said. “Fred is still my mentor today.”
Castellanos is finishing a master’s degree in classical guitar at San Diego State University and Benedetti is still her instructor, as he teaches classes there as well as at Grossmont. She described him as the kind of person that when class was over, he would answer every question from the long line of students waiting to talk with him.
“As a guitar teacher, I can say he notices everything, the littlest things,” she said. “The way he gets you to fix them, he has a really positive, very encouraging teaching approach.”
Castellanos, a full-time musician, now is the guitarist and lead vocalist of Besos de Coco, which also includes Grossmont alumni Evona Wascinski, contra-bassist, and Claudia Gomez Vorce, percussionist, another Grossmont alum. Castellanos hopes to take the trio on tour next year, but in the meantime, she plays with musicians in different venues throughout San Diego.
“Grossmont is awesome,” Castellanos said. “It is such a positive place. They hire really good instructors. It is a model for all the community colleges. I got a better education in some of the classes at Grossmont than at the university level and got more attention.”