Ronald Radford

Ronald Radford, Artistry in Music and Life

By Paul Lessard, High Point Community Foundation

"School audiences will be awe-struck by the talent and the musical artistry of Ron Radford, the American Master of the Flamenco Guitar, and they will be further inspired by his ability to pass on the truths and principles of a life well lived.

Ron's ability to weave a strong character education message in with his breathtaking talent with the guitar will leave your students with a new vision of what is possible in everyone's life. From a boy growing up in poverty in an Oklahoma trailer park to a world-renowned artist who has performed at both Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center Ron's story of accomplishment will resonate with even the most reluctant student.

As the very first recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship in Flamenco who has spent years traveling in Spain studying the music of the Spanish Gypsies Ron relates experiences of his learning and life process that will expand the vision and the possibilities in every student's mind. While his music will tell the story of an emerging artist's mastery, his life story will teach every student the importance of travel, of aspiration, and of plumbing one's fullest potential.

Ron Radford's career has taken him to fifteen countries from Australia to Switzerland and Canada to Panama. He has toured for the U.S. State Department as a musical ambassador in Mexico, Guatemala, and other Latin American Countries. This program is a moveable feast of art, culture, and most of all a remarkable journey into the heart in which the most important lessons of life can be discovered."

A Letter from Paul Lessard:

"Ron, Your artistry and precision with the guitar was, as always, awesome and inspiring; however, your message of character, passion, and life vision that you passed onto the students was truly outstanding.

We have been running our Project for 14 years and in that time I have seen the very best in arts and character education presentations and I would rank your recent work at the very top of this elite group. What I liked most was the seamless way in which you were able to weave the artistry and the life lessons into an experience that educated, inspired and called all the students to higher standards.

We could not be more appreciative and happy with the excellent work you accomplished here and I want you to know that I would love to serve as a reference for any potential school who might be considering your program." Paul Lessard, Feature story About Ron's programs on NEA website:


To Fellow Supporters of the Arts - As the Music Curriculum Specialist for Tulsa Public Schools, I would like to extend my greatest appreciation for allowing Ron Radford to perform for our schools. Having the ability to present Ron’s program to our youth in TPS is integral to both their educational and social well being. I was delighted to work with Ron in scheduling his appearances in our schools, and receive the feedback from so many pleased and grateful Principals and teachers.

The response was so great from Principals who were hungry for this sort of opportunity that I had to compile a waiting list! As an advocate for arts education, programs such as these, make my mission easier.

Ronald Radford performing for school kids

"We all know that in public education, the push to keep the arts alive isn’t always easy, despite the research that shows so many benefits both cognitive and emotional. Through the arts, we build better citizens and better communities, and I am pleased to be a part of a community of patrons that support these causes. I am deeply thankful for the generosity of The Arts Foundation, the George Kaiser Family Foundation, and the Bezalel Foundation for allowing Tulsa Public Schools this opportunity. With sincere thanks for your time and consideration.”
-- Paige Godfrey, Music Curriculum Specialist, Tulsa Public Schools

Your performance at Waite Phillips Elementary was brilliant!! You have created a delightful presentation that is uplifting, clever, engaging and truly captures the attention of the students. Then add to that your amazing playing! I was totally impressed as were my grandchildren Isaac and Avy. Isaac was sitting beside me and was mesmerized. He was so into it that he sat perfectly still, even closing his eyes when you played the 'drum and bugle' sounds. He said he could picture a parade. They both felt very special getting to meet you. I'm so glad I was there. You are a true master and an inspiration to everyone who hears you.
-- Pam Van Dyke Crosby, President Tulsa Jazz Society

Thank you for giving our boys at the Tulsa Boys’ Home the opportunity to hear your music and special message that you gave them. You truly inspired our boys and staff. A special thank you goes out to the George Kaiser Family Foundation and the Bezalel Foundation for covering the expenses for you to perform. We hope you can return next year and look forward to seeing you again.
-- Mike Murphy, Program Director, Tulsa Boys’ Home

Ronald Radford and his school performance

Your performance at Margaret Hudson Program in Tulsa was superb. It was encouraging to see how motivated the students were to be engulfed in the music and to hear your personal "Wow" moments. I am sure that seeds were planted in the hearts of the students and that in the weeks and years to come, those seeds will produce a harvest of lives changed for the better. Thank you for doing what you do and for following your dream.
-- Roberta Keenan, Counselor, Margaret Hudson Program

I want to thank you for your wonderful performance and positive self-esteem talk you gave at our school today. The students were completely mesmerized by your fabulous guitar playing and stayed connected to what you were saying about the value of practice and how you can do whatever you want to if you only practice. As the music teacher, it is always fantastic when my students can see a working musician, especially one of your caliber who can also relate to them so positively on their own level. Again, thank you so much!
-- Sheryl Miller, General Music Teacher, Patrick Henry Elementary

Thank you for coming to Chouteau Fine Arts Academy. We were so pleased with your performance and inspiring words. You have a real talent to hold the attention of young students. My fifth graders would like you to know that “you play the guitar amazingly”, that they “loved your performance” and it was an “excellent experience.” They hope you will return some day. We will enjoy watching your DVD. Thank you for sharing your time, talents, and thoughts with us.
-- Kathy Blank, Chouteau Fine Arts Academy

Everyone at Peary enjoyed your performance so much. The kids and adults have all been telling me how much they enjoyed your assembly. They loved the way you interacted with the kids. They were all very impressed with your musical ability. We all appreciated how you talked to the children about their individual talents. Thank you again for the wonderful performance. God Bless you as you continue to share your musical talent with others.
-- Mary Jo Graves Bridges, Peary Elementary

Mr. Radford, the performance and speech that you gave to the students at Mitchell was very welcome and I know made an impression. Afterwards, their excitement was still evident. I think that the combination of the music with the message makes the message all the more better, since the children can see the results of “being your best” and “practicing” instead of simply hearing the words. Many children aren’t always exposed to a varied range of arts and by showing them, it can make a lasting impression. In my own life I know that such experiences as a child lead me to music which I have now done over half of my life and subsequently to the study of classical guitar. Thank you for coming.
-- Roy L. Barnett Jr., Mitchell Elementary

* Ron and kids*

Mr. Radford, thank you so much for coming to our school yesterday morning. It is a rarity that we have the privilege to have such an accomplished musician conduct an assembly at our school. I went home last night and talked with my wife about not only how great the music was and what a great job you did explaining your background and the music, but also how you gave the same message that I promote. I have been teaching 4th and 5th grade math for the past several years and part of what I teach during class besides math is actually life skills such as responsibility to help prepare my students to be their best in life. I am always telling my students that they will be able to do anything that they want if they practice - but they will also do things the way they practice. It is so refreshing to have the life skills presented to the students by someone from outside the school to reinforce the message we are trying to teach during school. Your emphasis on practicing what you enjoy to be the best you can be was presented in a way that was very enjoyable. Thanks again.
-- Richard Carter, Lee Elementary

Thank you for sharing your many talents and gifts with our students. Your presentation was very fun, entertaining and enlightening. Besides the Flamenco guitar styles, you gave students contemporary examples to make contrasts and to point out that music is a universal language. Woven into your presentation was a message of hope and encouragement to go the extra mile. I believe our students must know that having the internal fortitude to handle set backs and mistakes is important. Many students stop and never try again after making small mistakes. We as teachers must explain how the “great masters” tried, tried and tried again before they were noticed or recognized for their accomplishments. Thank you for sharing with us and we wish you well as you travel across the world with inspiring music and a great message for young people of all ages.
-- Denise L. Davis, Fine Arts Director, Central High School

Mr. Radford: Your performance at Hawthorne Elementary School was “Fantastic!” The students were captivated by your Guitar playing and your motivational oratory about LIFE. You made them feel as though that there is nothing that is unattainable,….dreams, goals, wishes. Thanks for such a beautiful performance at our school.
-- Linda McMullen, Music Teacher