Better than Fruitcake: Ron Radford Rocks the Abbey

Ron Radford is one of our country’s greatest flamenco guitarists. When one man is responsible for so many classic performances it is an impossible task to pick one out for special mention. However, on October 26th my wife and I were witness to a performance that was very special indeed.

The story goes like this: My wife Toni was on the computer checking all the abbeys in the mid-west for a fruitcake. Instead of a fruitcake she noticed that RonRadford was playing a concert at Conception Abbey in isolated North Western Missouri. Having nothing to loose and everything to gain we trekked along the dark country roads to see America’s lovable ambassador of the flamenco guitar.

At five minutes before show-time there were only about 20 persons in the 150 to 200 chairs. Suddenly in walked the seminarians and monks and filled almost every chair. The monks, dressed in black tunics, pray together at the abbey six times a day.

As the thrilling tone of Radford’s guitar began to soar high in theconcert hall, so to did the spirits of the monks and seminarians, and smiles soon spread over their usually solemn faces. All evening we heard beautifully phrased and inventive guitar playing at its best.

Along with his red-hot guitar playing, was Ron’s (always underrated) vocalizing and interesting stories. Every detail of Ron’s performance could be heard through his Bose amplifier system. I have never heard a better sounding system for acoustic guitar.

As the night went on it was clear that Ron’s skilful showmanship and consummate artistry meant a never-to-be-forgotten experience for this reviewer. The monks of the abbey do not produce fruitcake, but on this night in October, they produced something much more delicious.

Dale Larson, Omaha, NE
Founding member of the St. Louis Classical Guitar Society


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