Memorial concert to be held for emeritus professor of music

Natalie Rivera

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A memorial concert will take place for Emeritus Professor of music, Ron Purcell, who passed away September of last year.
The memorial will begin Friday, Feb. 12 at  7:30 p.m. and take place at Recital Hall. It will be followed by a reception in the music department.
The event has been in the works since October 2011 and will feature nine guitar acts performed by Purcell’s former students, each act accompanying a brief story of their time with the late musician.
Ronald M. Borczon, music therapy and classical guitar assistant chair, was a colleague of Purcell since 1984, found all the event’s guitarists and will host the event.
“He was a good friend and mentor. He set the bar for how guitar programs should be,” Borczon said. “The idea (for the concert) really came from Ron’s widow, who approached me with the idea that maybe the university would want to do something for him and from then on I started working on the concert and started to get all of the musicians together.”
Ron Purcell joined the music department’s faculty in 1971 and taught until his retirement in 2006. He then founded a preeminent guitar program at CSUN that became the first of this country. He led the International Guitar Research Archives program that still provides one of the world’s largest collections of guitar repertoire at the Oviatt Library.
Purcell was the president of the American Guitar Society for decades and after retirement still worked in the Oviatt Library to help categorize and digitize the International Guitar Research Archives collection to make it more accessible worldwide.
The nine performances that will be performed at the memorial concert will also include two songs that were written for Purcell by his students. CSUN graduates from 2009 and a teaching assistant at USC who was a student of Purcell’s, Cameron O’Connor, will be performing at the concert.
O’Connor said he was greatly influenced by Purcell when he first attended CSUN as an undergraduate in 2005.
“I can’t say that I really knew him well, but I was greatly influenced by him,” O’Connor said. “In a way he influenced me by just being around him. He was a great professor and he knew so much material and was so involved. As a musician I looked up to him a lot.”