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Joel Guild and Gayle Karafil Endowment

CityMusic is pleased to announce they have received funds to be endowed in memory of Joel Guild.  This gift, offered by his wife Gayle Karafil, is intended to honor his legacy and life by providing musical opportunities to children in the community.


Joel Guild & Gayle Karafil

Joel Guild 

Joel was a noted musician in the Columbus music scene, playing guitar with so many groups it is difficult to recount them all.  Music was always a vital part of his life and became a way to help him express himself.  Besides being the only boy in a family of five kids, at times life at home could be difficult. The family struggled to achieve middle class status and it wasn't always easy for them.  Joel was able to overcome life's struggles and support his own mental health with determination and his relationship with  music.  It was his sincerest belief that music had the ability to save lives.


Despite some difficulties, the house was often filled with music. He heard influences from the popular music that his parents liked in their day to the jazz that a neighbor introduced him the late '50s and early '60s popular music that his older sisters enjoyed.  He would noodle around on the piano and make stuff up that sounded good to his ears. But it was when the Beatles appeared on Ed Sullivan that, like so many of his generation, he was inspired to learn guitar and play in bands. He spoke many, many times about how music was often his only escape from what was troubling him.

When he attended OSU, he lived with a number of other students and young people in a huge old Victorian house on campus. The house had seen its better days (he and his lifelong friends from that time dubbed it The Big Green House) but it was perfect for a bunch of hippies trying to live cheaply and hang out with others who were artistically inclined. One of those other students was a guy named Rick Smith. Rick was an advanced guitar player who was studying music and could read and write notation as well as play everything from blues to jazz to classical. Joel was Rick's first guitar student and Rick taught Joel everything he knew. Joel learned his scales and music theory and practiced relentlessly....a habit that he never abandoned.  Joel spent most of his time in college playing music, doing community work or engaging in political activism.  

Although he worked as an IT repair person until his retirement, his day job was just a way to help him pursue his passion, music. 

This endowment, offered by Gayle in loving tribute, comes from her conviction that music was the core passion of Joel’s life. Playing guitar was a lifeline for Joel, an ability to tap into joy and solace during the hardest times of his life.  The intention of the endowment is not only to memorialize and celebrate the life of Joel Guild, but to help young people to find their passion and feel the power of music in their own lives.  Joel believed that music has the power to save lives and make the world a better place.  

Gayle offered the following statement as testimony to her commitment to the endowment, “The world we live in can be challenging even in the best of times and the best of circumstances. And right now, we are all going through challenging times. So many kids are experiencing a hard way to go in life, be it economically, emotionally, mentally, or because they are disadvantaged by a society that is less than accepting of differences. But once a child receives the gift of music it can never be taken away. It is beautiful, inspiring, and comforting. It is beneficial to the young brain in a myriad of ways. It can be practiced in solitude or with others. For a child, learning music is life-changing. And sometimes, it is life saving. My goal is to provide kids who otherwise wouldn't have had access to real musical experiences and education the chance to have what Joel and I didn't have as children.”

Joel’s life itself is a testament to the power of music and CityMusic is committed to ensuring his lasting legacy is one in the same.  We are proud to partner with Gayle in a shared vision and commitment to the power of music.




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