Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Dick Kesner

Looking at some of the fine violinists in the band, long time fans would surely remember Dick Kesner and his companion, the Stradivarius violin.

Born in Sioux City, Iowa on October 26, 1912; he attended the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago followed by three years with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra.

Dick served the US Army during World War II in the Pacific Theater, where he organized his own combo of musicians to entertain the troops. After the war, he played with Freddie Martin's band and with the ABC music staff in San Francisco before he joined the Music Makers in 1953 as first violin chair.

During his time with the Welk Orchestra until 1960, he was one of the more popular members of the Maestro's television show thanks to his beautiful violin solos, played with his trademark Stradivarius. He also recorded several solo albums on the Brunswick and Coral labels.

Dick was killed in a auto accident in Texas on January 8, 1962.

Anyone who wants to learn violin, or perform on a grand scale of excellence, just watch some of the old black & white Welk shows where Dick Kesner performs in the solo spot!



Sean Brock said...

Dick Kesner was my Grandfather and I love his music. He is the one inspiring me to play the guitar.

CathyM said...

I listened to his music while growing up in Burlington Iowa - I always wanted to play the violin because of him.

Anonymous said...

I remember sitting with my parents watching the Lawrence Welk show hoping that Dick Kesner would play. It was because of him that I did begin to play, and now, over 50 years later and semi-retired, I can look back over a wonderful music career that included the concertmaster position of a major symphony orchestra. I have Mr. Kesner to thank for giving me the inspiration to play, a career that I loved, and a lifetime of musical enjoyment. My only regret is that I was never able to shake his hand and tell him in person.

Regional Apostolic Council said...

As a teenager I remember an album on the Brunswick label my dad owned of Dick Kesner. I am a hopeless romantic and I loved to play that album. I cherish the memories of listening to it. My wife and I love to shop Goodwill and just recently came across the very album I enjoyed so much so many years ago. Of course I purchased it and was thrilled once again to hear the maestro playing Zigeuner. What a lucky find!

Anonymous said...

Dick, Muriel, Judy, Kathy and Lisa were our neighbors. They lived on Bothwell Road in Reseda, CA. Kathy was my best friend as a child. We lived 3 houses from them on Vose St. After Dick died in an accident near the LA River on Tampa Avenue in Reseda the family moved to Texas. Kathy always said Texas girls were the prettiest. It was a sad time for their family. I lost touch with them in the seventies. I still remember Kathys birthday, October 14. Mr. Kesner played the song Danny Boy on Christmas Eve and dedicated it to my family. My brothers name is Danny. My name is Becky.

John said...

Dick and his wonderful family lived across the street from me, in Reseda CA, in the late 50s. I was in High School and I would love to hear the beautiful music coming from his house as he was practicing. Dick and another neighbor, Don Robertson, inspired me to write music; which has been my passion for my whole life. I was devastated the day I heard of his tragic death.

My mother and father, Frances and Jimmie Vitz, were huge fans and spent many evenings at the Aragon Ballroom, where Welk's orchestra ruled! My sister, Cathie, was best friends with Judy and Kathy Kesner. Those were blessed days for our family+++
John Vitz

Sean Brock said...

Thanks for the info, John and Becky

Anonymous said...

I might be the current owner of his former house on Bothwell in Reseda. An elderly neighbor of mine had said my house was tied to Lawrence Welk, but I could not figure out how. This is fantastic. I would invite any of the old neighbors over, I'd love to learn more about Dick and the history of the neighborhood.