Today, for the listening pleasure of many, the Park brothers will be featured in the June 2021 MidDay At Grace Concert.
Alex and Wesley Park are familiar faces in the community. Both men are Culver City High alums and both have graduated from and are now music teachers at Pepperdine University.
It just so happens that both are guitarists. Exceptional guitarists many say. They also happen to be great performers, as soloists or as a duet.
Mary Lou Basaraba, Grace Church’s director of music ministry, has high praise for both brothers as musicians.
“Alex was a featured soloist in a previous MidDAY concert and I presented Wesley in a weekly previews program,” Basaraba, who launched the MidDay Concerts in December 2018, said. “It is a great joy to me to host them together in this MidDAY At Grace program.
Basaraba said that Alex Park became a regular music performer at the church for several years while at CCHS and later at Pepperdine.
“He enchanted us with his beautiful playing during Prelude, Offertory and Communion segments of Sunday services and eventually, for special services at Christmas Eve and Easter,” she said.
While completing his undergraduate degree at Pepperdine, Alex Park presented a “practice run” of his graduation recital in the Grace Church sanctuary, Basaraba said.
Brother Wesley, who Basaraba said is also an “accomplished pianist,” accompanied Alex in portions of the “Concerto de Aranjuez” by Rodrigo.
While Wesley Park (who is three years younger than Alex) has followed in his brother’s footsteps, he has carved out a phenomenal individual career as a musician, Basaraba said.
As Alex Park’s schedule filled with performances and assignments, he often recommended Wesley as a substitute musician at Grace Church.
“Wesley is as much of a protegee as his brother and he did not disappoint,” Basaraba said. “I was very excited to see them develop a strong, commercially-viable guitar duo. It is a great joy to me to host them together in this MidDay At Grace program.”
Today’s performance is video recorded by JIm Snodgrass, who is the Grace house percussionist and handbell director, Basaraba said.
The link to the Park brothers performance is https://youtu.be/FdpT1WYjlvk.
Alex Park notes that he takes special pride in the guitars he and his younger brother Wesley perform with, as noted in last week’s music story.
“The guitars that we’ll both play at the concert are guitars built by the same maker, Jose Ramirez,” Park said. “They were even built around the same era. Mine was built in 1965 and Wesley’s was built in 1966. I feel that both of our musical skills complement each other when we play guitar duets together.”
Being brothers gives their duet performances a special quality because they know each other intuitively, even as musicians.
“Our musical styles are ultimately the same which makes collaborating very natural,” he said. “When we work on duets, our ultimate goal is to have our music sound like it’s one entity, as opposed to two completely different guitar sounds. To achieve this, we work on matching our sound, tone colors and balance.”
Basaraba was pleased with the pre-recorded video of the Park brothers.
“Alex and Wesley Park are true virtuosi,” she said. “I think (today’s performance) is one of the finest programs we have presented since our opening concert in December 2018.”
Basaraba reminds music lovers, “(that virtual concerts) “can be heard anytime; join us or as it fits your schedule.”
All donations from the MidDay At Grace virtual concerts benefit the church’s Grace Diner Food Ministry (a tax exempt, 501(c) (3), a nonprofit organization EIN# 46-5058093) on the campus of the church.
For the past 10 years (the diners has been) under the direction of Lisa Skelley and a dedicated team of volunteers,” Basaraba said last year.
“This is an extraordinary ministry that has served more than 70,000 sit-down meals to the homeless and needy,” Basaraba said. “It took the first 10 years for the original sit-down Monday night diner in the Parish Hall to serve approximately 35,000 meals. Truly a worthy community outreach Ministry that we are so proud to support with the MidDAY At Grace monthly
Donations to the diner can be made at https://gracediner.org.