I was able to go see the guitar recital performed by Robert Gruca on Sunday afternoon at Christ Church United Methodist at 2 p.m. It was my first concert of this type, and
I was very impressed.
I consider myself a lifelong student of music. I taught myself
to play guitar with some help from my older brothers. They had bought
guitars and started learning at the same time, and they ended up showing me basic chords and
giving me access to their instruments when they saw that I was persistent.
Watching this recital in such an elegant setting gave me
the distinct impression that although I have played for almost 20 years, I really
don’t know anything about guitar! I’ve spent most of my life learning blues
and rock and jazz and recently some classical guitar.
Classical guitar still seems so foreign to me, even though I can muddle
my way through a few pieces by Bach and Villa-Lobos from memory. There is still
such a wide vocabulary of techniques and nuances that remain untouchable to me.
I approach the piano in the same way, though I do know all the basic scales and
chords there from what I have been able to teach myself in a few years.
I am so glad that there are people who can play these
instruments and appear to me almost like magicians, evoking sounds and moods
that I can’t begin to figure out or duplicate, though I am emboldened to keep
trying for as long as I live! For a few
hours Robert Gruca did just that.
Gruca’s playing was effervescent and it was so refreshing to
see someone so ably bringing life to so many old pieces from altogether
different worlds and different times. I could revel in the peace of that
listening experience all day. He also had a good volume; his playing,
though sensitive, commanded and filled the entire space of the large
Guitarist Robert Gruca on WGN TV
My earliest memories of the guitar are listening to cassette
tapes of Led Zeppelin II and Led Zeppelin IV. The mood and imagery evoked from
hearing Albeniz’s Suite Espanola, Op. 47 bring to me a completely different
sense and an almost impossibly distant past. And yet not so distant to the ear!
I hear so many people complain that there is nothing to do
in Charleston. I think the Charleston Chamber Music Society is proving
that it is simply not true! And for anyone that
would complain about not liking classical music, I would insist that everyone
could find something to like about it. It is a language and creative passion
that remains timeless. There is plenty of excellent live music to be
experienced in this area. Get out and taste it! Listen with open ears and open
minds and be prepared to grow!!