Montgomery City’s Juanita Hadden has passion for the guitar

By Theo Tate
Posted 9/2/21

Four years ago, Juanita Hadden had her first guitar gig when she was in eighth grade.

Now, playing the guitar has become a big passion for the Montgomery City resident.

“It’s really …

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Montgomery City’s Juanita Hadden has passion for the guitar

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Four years ago, Juanita Hadden had her first guitar gig when she was in eighth grade.


Now, playing the guitar has become a big passion for the Montgomery City resident.


“It’s really fun,” Hadden said. “It’s nerve-racking until I get up there. But when I start playing, it’s crazy.”


The 17-year-old Hadden performed at the Ice Cream Social at the Montgomery County Senior Center on Aug. 10. She teamed up with Harry Johnson, another Montgomery City resident. It’s the first time in her longtime guitar playing career that she didn’t go solo.


“I had no idea they were even there,” Hadden said. “I just started playing and making up with their guitars. I was like, ‘OK, whatever. I’m down.’”


Hadden said she enjoyed playing music with Johnson. They played for almost an hour in front of numerous people at the Senior Center.


“I loved it,” Hadden said. “I think I’m going to come back in a few Thursdays whenever they’re back and I’ll play with them a little more. I don’t really have anybody to jam out like that.”


Hadden’s biggest gig was in 2018, when she opened up for the Afters, a Christian pop rock band, at the Montgomery County Fair. Her performance helped Hadden earn a spot in the Montgomery County Fair’s Hall of Fame.


But the first guitar performance in 2017 was something Hadden will always remember.


“My first gig was at a little restaurant in Middletown,” Hadden said. “I opened up for Scott Shelby. I sang some Tom Petty. I was so nervous, but it went really well. Ever since then, people started texting me and wanting me to play in restaurants. It kind of started from there.”


Hadden said she first became interested in playing the guitar when she was in elementary school.


“I always sang,” Hadden said. “I’ve been singing since I was a kid, doing some plays and stuff like that. I started piano when I was 4. I always loved music. I thought the guitar would sound like fun. I started that and I never stopped.”


During her career, Hadden had numerous gigs at the Senior Center, where her grandmother, Jill Burch, is the director.


“I try to perform older songs because the crowd is older,” Hadden said. “They probably wouldn’t know pop songs or new country or whatever. Outside the Senior Center, I would perform everything, like 90s, 80s and rock. I’m pretty diverse.”


Hadden is a senior at Montgomery County High School and is a member of the school’s FCCLA group. She plays for the worship band at her church, New Florence Baptist Church.


Hadden said she’s not planning on having a full-time career as a guitar player after she graduates from MCHS. But she will continue to play the instrument for leisure.


“I love it,” Hadden said. “Sometimes, it’s a little overwhelming, but it’s awesome. It’s nice to share my talent with others.”

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