“Welcome to our boardroom,” remarked Mark Roosa, Pepperdine University’s Dean of Libraries, in reference to the thirty-odd surfboards that lined the walls of the chapel-like space in Payson Library that would serve as recital hall for the evening. Dean Roosa was introducing renowned classical guitarist Christopher Parkening, whose students would be performing for this, the first in a series of Guitar Program concerts held the second Tuesday of every month in the Surfboard Room of Payson Library.
Maestro Parkening, who serves as Distinguished Professor of Music at Pepperdine University, set the tone for the evening by showing a short film about his guitar teacher, the great Andrés Segovia. In addition to introducing the themes of pedagogy, legacy, and musical inheritance, the film demonstrated how Maestro Segovia was a pivotal figure in elevating the status of the guitar, earning its place on the stage and in the classical repertoire.
Following the film, eight of Maestro Parkening’s students performed in succession, each framed by the colonnade-like rows of surfboards composing the John Mazza Historic Surfboard collection. It’s hard to say what role the surfboards played in the surprisingly pleasing acoustics of the room—both intimate and expansive—that served the guitarists so well. The repertoire ranged from the sixteenth century to the twenty-first, and was well received by the near capacity audience. The concert concluded with four guitarist performing Pachelbel’s “Loose Canon,” a humorous take on that famous (and overplayed) Baroque canon by Johann Pachelbel as arranged by the Los Angeles String Quartet. The familiar tune made its way on an unexpected journey of musical styles, including reggae, bluegrass, flamenco, and even punk.
The students in performance included Sergio Gallardo, Joshua Ivy, Roberto Hermosillo, Brig Urias, Sebastian Olarte, Joseph Peliska, Alexander Park, and Kevin Enstrom. The photo above by Patrick Park shows Sergio Gallardo beginning the concert with Saudade No. 3 by French composer Roland Dyens.
The next concert in the series will be Tuesday, October 8, at 5 pm. Once again in the Surfboard Room on the second floor of Payson Library.