Plucking the Strings

The sounds of strings echoed throughout Fannin Hall as the Richland guitar ensemble performed 14 pieces by Spanish, Renaissance and student composers in ensemble’s spring concert April 18. 

Jan Ryberg, the director of the ensemble and guitar professor at Richland, was very satisfied with the performance. “It went pretty well,” Ryberg said. “I tell my students I’ve never seen a perfect concert. I went to the greatest guitar concert last night. A guy I consider to be the greatest guitarist in the world and he made mistakes. The main thing is you keep going. You gather yourself. You find your place. You just keep going.”  

The concert began with a performance of “Antequera Sale El Moro” by Miguel de Fuenllana, a baroque piece from the 16th century as the ensemble plucked their strings gracefully and brought the classical piece back to life to the ears of the audience. 

The students also played the original composition “Solamente Tu” by Raymond Guerra, a former guitar ensemble member. Guerra was in the audience to witness the performance and was happy with the execution of the piece. 

“I was pleased. They performed it very well and I liked it,” said Guerra.

The ensemble also performed another original piece by Liam Tankersley, a current member of the ensemble. “Theme in Canon in G Minor” was performed for the first time that night. Tankersley said smiling, “It went OK the first time, but I have confidence that it will go better the second time we perform it.” 

One of the final pieces played was “Cancion De Los Mariachis,” a traditional Spanish song with flamenco roots reflected in the style and rhythm. The song was performed with precision and excellence as everyone strummed to the beat. Several solos were performed during the song that captured the style of the piece while revealing the creativity of each player. 

The ensemble performed “Capricho Arabe” by Francisco Tarrega performed by Ryan Lawrence near the conclusion of the concert. 

“It’s something I’ve always loved and a piece I wanted to learn for a very long time. I never really felt like I could and eventually earlier this year I was at that the level to learn it and ended up being there so I could,” said Lawrence.

The piece was melodic, beautiful and well executed. The audience was silent as the waves resonated through the room allowing the people in the audience to open their ears and listen to the hard work of Lawrence’s performance.   

The concert presented a variety of unique styles and variations of playing. Different guitar players with different skill levels came together to deliver an exciting night of guitar music. The guitar ensemble is a class offered at Richlandand is open to everyone who wants to join. “I want anyone who’s interested to join [the ensemble],” said Ryberg.