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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Dick Kesner And His Magic Stradivarius - The Music Of Hawaii

Bird Of Paradise
Dick Kesner And His Magic Stradivarius
The Music Of Hawaii
With Orchestration By Charles Bud Dant
Coral CRL 57352 and 757352 (stereo)

The first Kesner album I stumbled across and blogged was Amor Latino. I discovered that very little was to be found online about Kesner. He was first violinist with The Lawrence Welk Orchestra and he also worked with The San Francisco and Chicago Symphonies, The American Broadcasting Company and The American Conservatory Of Music.

Kesner made a number of records that all seem to be somewhat obscure. And his "Welk" pedigree isn't inspiring. That is to say... if you look for exotica and interesting lounge (atomic age) recordings you would probably pass Kesner's LPs based on that information. Much to my surprise Kesner's obscure Amore Latino is now one of my favorite exotica records. I can't say that this album features the "experimental" flourishes of Amor Latino, but the set is a terrific exotica or lounge styled "Island" record. For the most part the tone is soft as Kesner blends his Stradivarius with Charles Bud Dant's Orchestra. The songs are more than his violin laid on top of an orchestra backup, they are well rounded arrangements.

I think this album made have just preceded Amor Lation (1962). Kesner obviously had much more going for him than just his bread and butter Welk gig!

Blue Hawaii
My Little Grass Shack In Kealakekua Hawaii
Legend Of The Rain
Beyond The Reef
Hawaiian Medley
Lovely Hula Hands
The Hawaiian Wedding Song
Bird Of Paradise
The Hukilua Song


  1. Beautiful tune! I'd grab this LP for that track alone. THANK YOU!

  2. I Have been a Dick Kesner fan for many years.Our family and many families would tune in every Saturday night just to see him play his Stradivarious violin that Lawerence Welk bought for him.I have 6 or 7 of his albums

  3. Richard (Dick) Lowell Kesner was born October 26, 1912 in Sheldon, O'Brien County, Iowa. Son of James N. Kesner and Irma Ellerbrack Kesner. The Kesner family lived in Sioux City, Woodbury County, Iowa. Dick was granted a scholarship to the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago. After graduation, Dick played for the Chicago Symphony. On October 14, 1942, Dick enlisted in the Army. While on leave, Dick married Nona Muriel Quinn in 1945. Muriel lived in Dallas, Texas and worked for the telephone company in 1945 while Dick was in the Army. Upon his return from the Army, he joined the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra. Dick joined the Lawrence Welk family in 1953. Dick and Muriel had three daughters, Judith Ann Kesner born 12/7/1946 in San Francisco, California, Kathy Lynn Kesner born October 14, 1949 in San Francisco, California, and Lisa M. Kesner born May 3, 1957 in Los Angeles, California. Dick left the Lawrence Welk show in 1960. He had a number of albums released. I have some of them, but probably not all. They are: Favorites De Oro Argentina, Golden Favorites, Latin Favorties, The New Old Refrain, The Sound of Gypsy Music, Intermezzo 1960, Amor Latino, The Music of Hawaii, Dick Kesner and His Magic Stradivarius. Dick passed away in a car accident in Reseda, CA on Thursday, January 18, 1962. The police suspected that Dick had a heart attack. His car left the road and killed a construction worker, James Kennedy (56 years old) and injured two others, when it went out of control. Stories about his death and the car accident and suspected heart attack was in all the major newspapers across the country. Dick's funeral service was conducted at St. Joseph the Worker Church in Canoga, CA on Monday, January 22, 1962 at 9am. His internment was at San Fernando Mission Cemetery. Dick and family lived at 6439 Shirley Avenue, Los Angeles, at the time of his death. There are now apartments built where their house was. Shortly after his death, Muriel (who was from Ranger, Texas - near Abilene) moved to Dallas, Texas where she raised the girls. I was a close friend of the family. Muriel died October 23, 1993 in Dallas, Texas.

  4. Hello,
    Thanks for the info on Dick Kesner. I have most of his lp's and down loaded most of the tunes available from the Welk show. He is my favorite concert master violinist that Welk had He had a beautiful tone, and a distinctive sound, he played with such ease and warmth. Shame he died so young, what a great violinist he was.


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