Past Classes

1998

Bryce Dessner
Mary Lord
Scott Morris
Mesut Ozgen
Jeff Peterson

1999

Daniel Corr
Mary Lord
Scott Morris
Isamu Nakamura
Jeff Peterson
Kevin Vigil

2000

Tom Amoriello
Mike Benninger
Christian Berndt
Theresa Calpotura
Matthew Cmiel
Sara Cohen
Tom Coleman
Amanda Cook
Bryce Dessner
Josh Friedman
David Hindman
Zoe Johnstone
Peter Koht
Matthew Marshall
Jeff Peterson
David Reynolds
Rami Vamos
John Wade
Max Zuckerman

Excerpt from a performance of "Scenes from Ellis Island" at the Ben Verdery Maui Guitar Class in 2000.


2001

Adam Cotton
Josh Friedman
Nicole Hetzer
David Hindman
Michael Hulmes
Marc Lipari
Brian Mancini
Robert McAuley
James Moore
Tom Morelli
Jeff Peterson
Geremy Schulick
Jeanie Siggelkow
Rob Watson
Max Zuckerman

2002

Mark Bussey
Matthew Cmiel
Adam Cotton
Ken Freeland
Josh Friedman
Juan Guillen
Yoichi Hatanaka
David Hindman
Marc Lipari
James Moore
Tom Morelli
Jeff Peterson
Geremy Schulick
Jeanie Siggelkow
Joe Thibodeau
Max Zuckerman

2003

Matthew Cmiel
Andrew Dickenson
Ken Freeland
David Hindman
Marc Lipari
Tom Morelli
Jeff Peterson
Michael Poll
Jeanie Siggelkow
Rick Smith
Jon Suters
Joe Thibodeau
Shintaro Yana
Max Zuckerman

2004

Glen Botto
Theresa Calpotura
Matthew Cmiel
Andrew Dickenson
Tom Donahue
Josh Friedman
Ryan Haverty
Michael Hulmes
Ian O'Sullivan
John Olson
Michael Poll
Joseph Schwartz
Jeanie Siggelkow
Ariadne Smith
Mark Smith
Rick Smith
Heather Wunner
Shintaro Yana
Max Zuckerman

2005

Glen Botto
Peter Cho
Matthew Cmiel
Tom Donahue
Zane Forshee
Josh Friedman
Ryan Haverty
Wayne Lines
Tom Morelli
Ian O'Sullivan
John Olson
Michael Poll
Andrew Schiller
Jeanie Siggelkow
Ariadne Smith
Rick Smith
Jeesoo Sohn
Rob Watson
Shintaro Yana
Max Zuckerman

2006

Glen Botto
Peter Cho
Matthew Cmiel
Tom Donahue
Josh Friedman
Sofia Gleeson
Kazuyuki Heraga
Masataka Kazumoto
Ojan Mobedshahi
Ian O'Sullivan
John Olson
Michael Poll
Matt Rohde
Dominique Ruiz
Jeanie Siggelkow
Ariadne Smith
Rick Smith
Jeesoo Sohn
Ted Stefan
Shouta Tsurumaru
David Veslocki
Shintaro Yana
Max Zuckerman
 2006 class

2006 class


2007

Glen Botto
Mark Bussey
Karen Campbell
Tom Donahue
Morgan Fiddler
Zane Forshee
Greg Freehling
Josh Friedman
Sofia Gleeson
Koh Kazama
Jet Lowe
Matt McPherson
Ojan Mobedshahi
Ian O'Sullivan
John Olson
Matt Ostler
Brett Parnell
Brent Paul
Michael Poll
Geremy Schulick
Jeesoo Sohn
Ted Stefan
Max Zuckerman

2008

Glen Botto
Peter Boyd
Sam Cogburn
Tom Donahue
Natasha Engel
Froilan Fabro
Liz Faure
Sofia Gleeson
Jangsoo Jun
Noah Kim
Joowon Lee
Alexander Lew
Matt McPherson
Ojan Mobedshahi
Jason Nomura
Juan Nuñez
Ian O'Sullivan
John Olson
Brent Paul
Nic Roozeboom
 2008 class

2008 class


2009

Diana Arp
Graham Banfield
Glen Botto
Mark Bussey
Karen Campbell
Tom Donahue
Natasha Engel
Froilan Fabro
Sofia Gleeson
Michael Hulmes
Jangsoo Jun
Noah Kim
Tom Morelli
Ian O'Sullivan
John Olson
Simon Powis
Jennie Schillig
Jeanie Siggelkow
Alexander Stroud
Chad Yacobucci

2010

Casey Ball
Graham Banfield
Glen Botto
Karen Campbell
Michael Cioffero
Madeleine Davidson
Tom Donahue
Michael Dowling
Henry Goldman
Jeremy Grall
Chris Hague
Wu Love
Ian O'Sullivan
Alejandro Olson
John Olson
Kim Perlak
Kassandra Siebel
Kyle Tessier-Lavigne
Austin Wahl
Ben Werdegar
Ray Zhou

2013

Frederic Hand, guest teacher Ian O'Sullivan, ensemble assistant

Arden Armbruster
Mark Bussey
Aaron Cardenas
Tom Donahue
Reed Hutchinson
Noah Kim
Eri Kumazaki
Ming-Jiu Liu
Robert McAuley
Juan Nuñez
Percy Nuñez
Alejandro Olson
John Olson
Chase Ono
David Reynolds
Dylan Reynolds
Ian Rowe
Harry Trump
Ben Werdegar
Zak Werdegar
 2013 class

2013 class


2014

John Dearman, guest teacher Ian O'Sullivan, ensemble assistantJeff Peterson, guest performer

Zeke Bardash
Mark Bussey
Aaron Cardenas
Tom Donahue
Christopher Hopper
Reed Hutchinson
Stephan Kane
Blaise Lee
Matthieu Mills
Arash Noori
John Olson
David Reynolds
Dylan Reynolds
Christopher Rispoli
Ben Werdegar
Zak Werdegar
Ray Zhou
 2014 class (partial)

2014 class (partial)


2015

Andrew York, guest teacher Ian O'Sullivan, ensemble assistant 

Aaron Cardenas
Tom Donahue
Kacel Ellis
Gabriella Eugenio
Liz Faure
Shannon Harrison
Christopher Hopper
Reed Hutchinson
Nathania Isnander
Stephan Kane
Christopher Mallett
Percy Nuñez
John Olson
Patrick Owléa
Conor Padmanabhan
Nicholas Padmanabhan
Alexander Stroud
Ben Werdegar
Zak Werdegar
Brandon Wong
 2015 class

2015 class

"Playground" by Andrew York. July 15, 2015. Maui Honu Guitar Orchestra conducted by Andrew York.

Excerpt from "Scenes from Ellis Island" by Benjamin Verdery. July 15, 2015. Maui Honu Guitar Orchestra conducted by Ben Verdery; Liz Faure, solo; Tom Donahue, organ; Ben Verdery, electric guitar.


2016

David Leisner, guest teacher Ian O'Sullivan, ensemble assistant Simon Powis, guest artist 

Francesca Boerio
John Bogan
Johnny Culwell
Tom Donahue
Roberto Granados
Christopher Hopper
Reed Hutchinson
Stephan Kane
Andrew Kobelak
Ben Lauring
Percy Nuñez
John Olson
Conor Padmanabhan
Nicholas Padmanabhan
Carson Strohecker
Ben Werdegar
Zak Werdegar
Brandon Wong
 2016 class

2016 class


2017

Martha Masters, guest teacher Ian O'Sullivan, ensemble assistant  

Laura Boswell
Greg Brown
Mark Bussey
Aaron Cardenas
Michael Casher
Tom Donahue
Liz Faure
Roberto Granados
Satchel Henneman
Stephan Kane
John Olson
Conor Padmanabhan
Nicholas Padmanabhan
Tyler Rhodes
Carson Strohecker
Zak Werdegar
Brandon Wong
 2017 class

2017 class


2018

Scott Tennant, guest teacher Ian O'Sullivan, ensemble assistant  

Julian Burbano
Aaron Cardenas
Tom Donahue
Nate Huvard
Stephan Kane
Zora Kramer
Max Mondzac
Libby Myers
John Olson
Chase Onodera
Conor Padmanabhan
Nicholas Padmanabhan
Reade Park
Trent Park
Stanley Wang
Zak Werdegar
2018 class

Winners of the Maui International Moustache Competition

2001: David Hindman
2002: Yoichi Hatanaka
2003: Andrew Dickenson
2004: Michael Hulmes
2005: Andrew Schiller
2006: John Olson
2007: Josh Friedman
2008: Juan Nuñez
2009: Glen Botto
2010: Graham Banfield
2013: Ian Rowe
2014: Stephan Kane
2015: Aaron Cardenas
2016: (tie) Ben Werdegar and Zak Werdegar
2017: Laura Boswell
2018: Julian Burbano

Reigning Moustache Champions' Exhortations to the Next Year's Contestants

Juan Nuñez, 2009:

My absence in this year's annual Mr. Maui Moustache competition is nothing short of heartbreaking.  I am with you in spirit as you and your upper lip follicles reach the culmination of these long days of hard work.  I am honoured to know that Mr. John Olson's moustache will be there to pass on the crown.

Winning the Mr. Maui Moustache competition changed my life in ways I can't begin to describe.  And I must say that, although I was a bit skeptical at first, winning this competition has had an almost magical effect on my guitar playing.  

To the lucky winner, I can only say this: your a finger will be stronger, your sight reading prowess will improve, the soulfulness of your playing will multiply, and the ladies will be eternally charmed if they are so lucky to hear the music emanating from your six strings.

May your fingers be nimble and your moustaches forever Suave.

Graham Banfield, 2013:

Ladies and gentlemen, and mustaches of all ages:

If you're getting this message, it can only mean that my reign as current laureate of the maui international mustache competition is coming to an end. I weep not, however, for every ending is also a beginning, and starting on this fine day of August 1st, 2013, one of you most noble competitors will be crowned the 2013 mustache champion. Of course, with great power comes great responsibility and this most venerable honor is no exception. You will be tested. You will be tired. You will find yourself in major need of a trim. However, remember that you're here tonight because you're the best, the boldest, the most compassionate, and the most suave. If ever the shadow of doubt darkens your 5 o'clock shadow, look deep into your mustache's heart for guidance. Believe in the force of your Facial follicles and rule with steady hand and thicketness of upper lip. To the fair and wise committee, I offer you the strength in your decision and To you noble competitors I offer you so much more than luck.

Ian Rowe, 2014:

Aloha from San Francisco,

As my time as the reigning mustache champion draws to a close, and the rise of a new champion approaches, allow me to offer a few encouraging words to our esteemed judges, and our pool of fuzzy lipped lads and ladies.

To our judges, remember that the mustache is not merely the hair uponst ones lip, but the man or woman who gives the stache its home.  The mustachioed man is brave man, a man who isn’t afraid to say “yeah, I got a mustache, so?”  Keep your judgments free of bias, and keep in mind, it is not the mustache that makes the man, but rather, it is the man that makes the mustache.

And to our competitors and the champion among you, be quick in wit, be strong in heart, and remember, when you have whiskers, every day is a victory beyond measure.  Whether it be handle bars, a Charlie Chaplin, the Ron Jeremy or the pencil-thin, a mustache is a symbol of bravery, a beacon of light, or simply the absence of a razor.  You competitors are the elite few who had the courage let it hang, let it go, and let it grow.  

I leave you with the creed of the mustache aficionado:

“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his lip for his mustache.”

Aloha, Mahalo, and Godspeed.

Signed this twenty seventh day of July, two thousand fourteen.

Stephan Kane, 2015:

Gentlemen of the 2015 Benjamin Verdery Maui Guitar Class, I am honored to be in your presence during this momentous occasion. As the 2014 Maui Guitar Class International Mustache Champion, I feel it’s my duty to share a few words of encouragement and wisdom before the competition proceeds in hopes to ignite the flame within your hearts and facial follicles. 

This past year was life changing for me in so many ways. I won’t go into detail other than what you have already heard. Yes, meeting the president twice and being interviewed by Oprah during my stay in Russia to have lunch with Vladimir Putin was all great, but there’s more to being the international mustache ambassador than that. 

The guitar playing reaches new heights that you could only dream of. And you will spark interest in others who would otherwise have no idea what classical guitar is. My new friends Mark Wahlberg, George Clooney, Katie Perry, and Pope Francis are talking of starting a classical guitar quartet together.

As guitar players, we are a different breed. We do not succumb to the reeds, the brass, nor the bows. Police officers have authority, naval officers have authority, Ron Burgundy has authority. What do all these figures typically have in common? The MUSTACHE. 

It should be no surprise then that we, as guitar players who celebrate the mustache so colorfully, must have the authority deep within us fighting for its way out. The last time the mustache was in style was in the ’80s. Look what happened then. Major change happened, Tom Selleck, and The Cold War ended. 

In the Chinese Zodiac, 2015 is the year of the sheep. You look at sheep and what do you see? They are noble creatures covered in fluffy white mustaches. But sheep need a Koyunbaba, or shepherd. 

So gentlemen, 
this is the year. 
Our time is NOW. 
This is the year the Classical Guitar regains authority! And the mustache is our ticket!

To the future 2015 Maui Guitar Class International Mustache Champion, it is true what past champions had to say, with great power comes great responsibility. But I trust that you — whoever you are — will be given the tools and grace to be the Koyunbaba to lead us all!

Thank you.

Aaron Cardenas, 2016:

Hear ye, Hear ye!

We gathereth here today in the year of our lord, Aaron Cardenas, to partaketh in the greatest test of human strength and wit. Look around at the fine follicled warriors that surroundeth thee, and bask in the glory of your fellow fuzzied lip challenger. All hath made it here today by staving off the urge to snip thine own glorious lip turf. Let us all take a moment and laugh at that one patchy fellow who can’t seem to grow hair in certain places. Bwahahahahaha. To that one patchy fellow, I say, fret not m’lady, for these trials are not meant to measure a man from the base of his follicle. These trials were crafted by the gods to see which mustache is quick in wit, and true to one's own heart. Here’s to you my furry faced friends, I bequeath thee with the strength of a thousand suns, and the wit to rend the judges asunder. The end of my reign draweth nigh, so with shield and sword in hand, make haste and take thine throne. Cheers!

Your lord and Savior,
Aaron Cardenas

Ben Werdegar, 2017:

Competitors: Good evening. For those of you who do not know me, I assure you I am a legend and my words relayed to you tonight are pure truth. To the returners, hello — I dearly miss you all and hope this year was just as good as those of the past. Maestro Verdery — wassup my man! I have compiled a somewhat lengthy speech for you all. 

I assure you that tonight will not be like any other night of your life. Tonight, the challenge of absolute wit, brilliance, talent, and strength in both mind and body that you have chosen to take part in will forever change one — or in last year's case two — of your lives. I first took part in the International Moustache Competition as a rising 7th grader — ignorant, like many of you, to the history and greatness associated with the prestige of being a mustache champion.  That year — with not even the slightest prickle of hair above my lip — I secured honorable mention. For years to come I would improve my placement, reaching a heartbreaking second place two years ago after what many thought was the most stellar, exemplary, unmatchable, incredible performance ever. Their words, not mine. At that point, I felt as though my life was over. I had worked so hard, yet still the system felt rigged against me. I suffered. I spent the next year in total isolation — residing in a cave atop the Himalayas with nothing but my guitar and hair growth hormones. I thought long and hard about my path, about my failure ... about my future. A year since that fateful night of second place, I earned my crown as champion. I have learned that it does not truly matter if your stache is not as glamorous and thick as that below Frida Kahlo's forehead, it is about character and potential. I ask you, what can your mustache do for the world and how?

This competition will no doubt change your life. Think free swag from D'Addario is cool? Imagine free hair and shaving products from every major brand in the world. The sponsorships are never ending — in the past year I have become the mortal face for the godly industry of facial hair products. I have embarked on a new journey in college, and have gone on tour around the world showcasing my mustache in arenas — preaching the ways of hair growth, which is why I cannot be with you all tonight. 

I ask you now to honor those past winners among you: Mr. John Olson, aka the Silent Killer, Mr. Stephan Kane, aka Fire Head, Mr. Aaron Cardenas, aka Muscle Mustache, and any others who may be among you. Consult them one last time — ask for their advice, for it is their wisdom you shall receive. Acknowledge the judges, respect their criticism, and do not argue with their decisions — they are merely the messengers of the furry gods. 

Competitors: One of you will be giving this speech one year from now. This is no mere competition, this is a battle for a life only attainable by the greatest — one of you will join the ranks tonight of mustache champions. Some advice: always have multiple ideas for each — and don't be afraid to ask for more time. Find your place of serenity in the spotlight. Create and maintain a specific character and theme with your answers. If what you are about to say could possibly be taken by somebody else, or if somebody else says your idea right before you, then that idea was never good enough to begin with. It is the ideas that only the champion could think up that yield an indefinite winner. Think outside the box, but don't get too crazy — just ask Aaron and Harry Trump about their answer to "what weather anomaly would your mustache be and why" from four years ago to understand what I mean.  

Good luck my friends. One of you has already won because it is you who carries a mustache that will be spoken about for eons to come. I encourage you all to watch the sideshow also known as the Verdery and Olson commentary when you can. This is about fun, love, guitar, family, humor, and above all else: facial fur. Good luck. 

Ben Werdegar

Laura Boswell, 2018:

My fellow moustache dreamers, comrades of the stache, and hairiffic heroes,

I greet you with pride and congratulate you on your journey thus far; it is not easy for those of us who walk the noble path of the stache. Remember this: We are united by our strength, our courage, and our dignity. And we stand by each other... until now. This is the moment of reckoning. There can be only one stache to rule them all.

I have had a powerful reign, championing women’s moustache rights and touring the world this past year. I am humbled to have taken a step forward for all women, a step forward in moustache equality. I hope that other women will follow in my hairy footsteps, and know that they are just as worthy and have just as much of a right to hair as men do! I will continue to fight for equal hair rights until my dying day.

I know it is a confusing and turbulent time in our world, but do not despair. Instead, be lifted up, knowing fully that America needs you now more than ever. Don’t ever forget the power of your stache. This country was founded by our forestachers, don’t let their efforts have been in vain! We must stand true to the moustache pioneers, but also with an open mind and open heart, moving past our differences and knowing that moustaches transcend all boundaries! We must walk forward together, stache in stache. The world needs your moustaches, and I applaud your efforts. 

Humbly,
Laura Boswell, 2017 Moustache Champion