News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

'Ponderoo' guitar up for raffle

SFF Presents has announced its Big Ponderoo guitar raffle fundraiser, with entries on sale as of May 22.

Jason Chinchen, luthier teacher and director of the Sisters High School Woods II program, has built and donated a beautiful custom rounded dreadnought shaped guitar - valued at $4,000 - for the organization to raffle. Half of the proceeds will go directly to the Woods II program and the other half will provide support for SFF Presents' cultural education outreach and programming in Central Oregon. The drawing will take place at the second annual Big Ponderoo Music and Arts Festival taking place June 29-30 at Village Green Park in Sisters; need not be present to win.

The handcrafted guitar features custom voice bracing, a sunburst Adirondack spruce top, figured Claro walnut back and sides, fiddleback maple binding with full purfling, and custom inlays of mother of pearl, gold mother of pearl, black pearl, and Birdseye maple. The raffle is set to be an annual tradition that supports and celebrates the building of handmade guitars in the SHS wood shop.

"I started working at Breedlove in 1999 as the first full time mandolin maker and during the four years there worked my way through all the departments in the shop, learning the entire process of building instruments," said Chinchen. "I returned to the company in 2013 as the head inlay artist for Breedlove/Weber Mandolins and was recruited to start teaching at Sisters High School three years ago. I'm passionate about guiding students towards meaningful careers in the engineering and manufacturing world."

Chinchen carries on the long-standing tradition of instrument making at Sisters High School. One of only two public school handcrafted-instrument-building programs in the country, the Americana Luthier program has been supported by Breedlove Guitars from the beginning back in 2006. The program was originally conceived by Jayson Bowerman (Bowerman Guitars) and woods teacher Tony Cosby, who ran the program from 2006-2021. To date, the students have built approximately 500 handmade guitars through the unique partnership between Sisters High School, Breedlove Guitars, and SFF Presents.

Only 400 raffle entries will be sold at $25 each. Tickets can be purchased online on Wednesday, May 22, 2024, at, in person at the SFFP office (204 W. Adams Ave., Ste. 101) with cash or credit card, or at the Big Ponderoo merch tent during the festival, until sold out. The lucky winner will be drawn on Sunday, June 30, from the Ponderoo stage at Village Green Park, prior to The East Pointers' set. The winner need not be present to win.

The Big Ponderoo festival features bluegrass, alt-country, and Americana music on two stages in downtown Sisters at Village Green Park. There will be two stages, the Ponderoo (main) stage and the Pinecone stage. The lineup this year includes: Shinyribs (10-piece band), Oliver Wood Trio, Silverada, The Brothers Comatose, Bella White, Hogslop String Band, AJ Lee and Blue Summit, The East Pointers, The Sam Chase and the Untraditional, Shadowgrass, Skybound Blue, Fog Holler, The Parnells, Skillethead, Rock Ridge, Joanna Lee, with a special appearance by the Outlaw Strings Fiddle and Guitar club.

Weekend passes and single-day tickets are available for purchase at Be sure to follow @BigPonderoo on Instagram and Facebook for updates and additional information.


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