“I can’t breathe, it’s just so beautiful,” said a passerby to guitarist Rafael Padrón after the guitar festival performance on Friday, Nov. 7.  

The Keene State College Guitar Orchestra played a three-song prelude at the event and solo guitarist Rafael Padrón headlined.

Hannah Sundell / Equinox Staff

Hannah Sundell / Equinox Staff

Professor of Music and Director of the guitar studies program at KSC, Jose Lezcano, organized the event.  He teaches courses on guitar orchestra and Latin American music.  Regarding the night’s performance, he said, “It was brilliant. Gorgeous.”

Lezcano described the benefit that concerts like this one have for students, “Our students get to hear a top-notch player like Rafael play material that they’re working on, but they get to see it at this incredible level and it inspires them to go out and practice more. To think about phrasing and color, beauty and tone.  That’s the best thing about it — is that someone like Rafael can inspire students and offer a different point of view than what I might offer.  It’s all good; it’s wonderful,” Lezcano said.

Originally from Cuba, Padrón said he is the program director of Classical Guitar at the Miami School of Music.  He said he attended the National School of Art in Havana and has won many top prizes in international and national competitions, according to the event’s playbill. He described the night’s performance as, “beautiful.” When he performs on stage, Padrón said he draws inspiration from story-telling, “I try to tell a story to the audience when I play.  I try to communicate that to the audience.”

He enjoyed the experience of coming to Keene and playing in smaller towns and cities like this one.  “I love the silence, the intimate sounds that in the big cities it is impossible to get,” Padrón said.

He continued, “Instead of going to the club — that’s good too, but this is something that is priceless that you can get here.  Often when you go to the big cities you get scared with so many people in the audience, but here it’s like you are one of the family and it’s very nice for me,” Padrón said.

Music performance major and member of the Keene State Guitar Orchestra, Mark McCarthy shared his take on seeing Padrón play, “A crazy performance, I have no words honestly.  The amount of skill and time he has put into it over the years is truly amazing,” said McCarthy. Lezcano described the music department at KSC as, “One of the leading, if not the leading cultural institutions in the Monadnock Region with quality and just in the number of concerts that we have,” Lezcano said.

The department holds a number of events, faculty concerts, ensemble concerts and more. Lezcano looked disappointedly at the empty Recital Hall after the few audience members had already cleared out.

“I just wish that more people knew about this and came over to this side of the campus to attend these events because they’re just wonderful,” Lezcano said.

Lezcano continued, “I wish this place had been full to hear this magnificent recital tonight.” To further the outreach for the music department, Lezcano said they plan to utilize more social media and mailing lists.

“We all have an educational mission here to let people know that there’s beautiful music and it’s something that can have a healing power in a very crazy world, a very stressed out world. What a beautiful moment. Many, many beautiful moments,” Lezcano said.


Hannah Sundell can be contacted at hsundell@keene-equinox.com

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