Successful trip to California brings unexpected benefits for Guitar Quartet
Contact: Christina Chapple
WITH THE MAESTRO – Members of Southeastern Louisiana University’s Guitar Quartet visited the home of renowned guitarist Pepe Romero during a trip to Los Angeles, where they performed at the University of Southern California and were broadcast on National Public Radio. From left, are Matthew Aguilar, Romero, Matthew Spears, Patrick Kerber, and David Bryan.
But the quartet -- Southeastern graduate student Matthew Aguilar of Walker, music major Matthew Spears of Shreveport, and guitar faculty members David Bryan and Patrick Kerber – got an unexpected bonus out of their Nov. 12 concert in Los Angeles.
The group was surprised – and delighted – to discover that their concert was to be recorded by National Public Radio affiliate KUSC, said Kerber, coordinator of guitar activities in Southeastern’s Department of Music and Dramatic Arts.
“It was a very nice surprise, and we were extremely pleased with our performance,” he said. “KUSC is the main NPR affiliate station for the southern California market. A broadcast on this station is a major accomplishment for any artist.”
The Guitar Quartet was invited to USC by guitarist and professor James Smith, who heard the musicians play last April when he was a guest artist at the Southeastern Guitar Festival. Smith’s invitation included an opportunity for the quartet to perform for Grammy-winning guitarist Pepe Romero of the Romero Guitar Quartet, with whom Kerber has worked in the past.
At a masterclass given by Romero, “We played about half of our concert,” Kerber said. “My personal moment came when Pepe commented enthusiastically, ‘Pat, you remembered everything I taught you! I have nothing to say except that it’s fantastic!’”
The quartet was also invited to the Romero home in San Diego, where the musicians had the opportunity to play Maestro Romero’s guitar – “and he in turn played their guitars,” Kerber said. They also toured Pepe Romero Jr.’s luthier workshop where they saw the tools of world-renowned maker Miguel Rodriguez.
“The students were awed by the experience, and I made it clear to them that this was an earned invitation,” Kerber said. “The invitation to Maestro Romero’s home speaks volumes to his impression of the group. I could tell by his manner that he was very taken with Southeastern’s students. This was truly a unique and wonderful opportunity.”