On Monday, October 1 at 7:30 p.m., the Fine Arts Center Auditorium at Southwestern Oklahoma State University will come alive with the music of Edgar Cruz, Oklahoma's Best Performing Artist/Acoustic Guitarist, and two other accomplished guitarists, fingerstylist Todd Hallawell and flatpicker Robin Kessinger. Edgar will open the concert for this musical event which is sure to provide an exciting, unforgettable musical experience! Admission is free and everyone is welcome to attend this extraordinary event. All three performers will have music CDs for sale at the event.
Edgar Cruz, a native of Oklahoma City and an internationally known musician, has been named Oklahoma’s Top Performing Artist and Acoustic Guitarist for several years by the Oklahoma Gazette. He has been a headliner at the Chet Atkins Festival in Nashville, Tennessee since 1995 and has performed at many festivals in Oklahoma. Edgar blends classical techniques with modern songs in a crowd-pleasing combo. Those who have witnessed his performances immediately become entranced at the precision, speed, and complexity with which his fingers strike his guitar strings to create a symphony of sound that is unusual to just one instrument. He holds a Bachelor of Music in Guitar Performance from Oklahoma City University. For more information, see his website at edgarcruz.com.
It has been said that the musical collaboration of Todd Hallawell and Robin Kessinger showcases not only each player’s technical brilliance, but also a crop of lovely original tunes performed in a musical dialogue of great taste, subtlety, and charm. Although Robin who is from West Virginia and Todd who was originally from California and is now living in Virginia, have different backgrounds, they are united by the common bond of their dynamic musicianship. Because their individual musical styles come from vastly different roots, Todd and Robin have been able to create an entirely new musical adventure for their audiences to enjoy.
Robin Kessinger has won many guitar contests, including the National Flatpicking Championship in Winfield Kansas, the West Virginia State Championship, and titles in Georgia, Ohio, Virginia, and Kentucky. The Kessinger family’s musical heritage dates back for generations. Robin’s great uncle, Clark Kessinger, was a legendary fiddler who recorded over seventy sides with Brunswick in the 1920s and was one of the most popular and influential fiddlers of his generation. As a young child, Robin took up the guitar, perfecting the flat-pick style of playing. Robin headlines festivals and participates in guitar contests throughout the nation as a performer and judge, as well as an instructor. He has been featured on PBS and BBC television specials and National Public Radio. In 2009, an annual music festival, “The Robin Kessinger Festival and Guitar Competition”, was inaugurated in his home state. For more information, go to his website at www.robinkessinger.com.
Todd Hallawell is a fingerstyle guitarist who feels at home with many styles of music. Since receiving a performance degree in classical guitar from Sacramento State University, he has worked as music teacher, composer and arranger, recording engineer, music editor, producer, and record label owner, but it is his work with the fingerstyle guitar that will always be remembered. For many years, Todd has produced and engineered music for the Soundset Recordings label which he co-owns. Todd has received multiple awards as a guitarist including the National Fingerstyle Guitar Championship in Winfield, Kansas and his compositions have been selected for both film and theatrical presentations. His CDs Before My Time and From Nashville & Back have won critical acclaim. For more information, go to his website at toddhallawell.com.