A guitar comes home

Growing up on the western coast of Chile, Cesar Medel was taught a few chords at age 7 by his guitar-playing father — and he hasn’t looked back.

Those simple chords convinced him that music was his passion and Medel continued to play, eventually attending the Hizidor Handler Conservatory of Music in Vina del Mar in his home country.

“I’ve been playing my whole life,” said Medel, who now resides in Redmond. “I love it.”

Medel came to the Olympic Peninsula after he moved to the Seattle area in 2004 and said he immediately fell in love with Sequim.

Since discovering Sequim, the guitarist has played at the Open Aire Market, where he now plays once a month, and has performed at the Juan de Fuca Festival twice.

“It’s a great place,” Medel said of the peninsula. “It’s a wonderful experience (playing here).”

Medel has another connection to the area — Sequim’s Pete Barthell, who builds classical guitars as a hobby, met Medel at the market last year and Medel asked him to make a guitar. Barthell had heard Medel play and said he jumped at the chance.

“He’s a trained virtuoso and it really shows,” Barthell said. “He played the Juan de Fuca Festival and audiences turned to jelly.”

Although he is classically trained, Medel said recently he has been experimenting with playing newer songs.

“I play a standard repertoire from Spanish songs in the classical period,” Medel said. “Lately, I’ve been playing a lot of new music, like Eric Clapton.”

For the Port Angeles concert, Medel said he plans to “do a little bit of everything.”

Barthell, who has heard Medel play the guitar he created many times, is his friend’s biggest fan and said he truly believes in his talent.

“This guy is one of those talents that captures (the audience) in the first 30 seconds,” Barthell said. “And when he’s done, you’re crying.”

Medel has released three CDs, titled “Gran Solo,” “Unforgettable Songs” and “Eternal Light,” that are available through his Web site

Music virtuoso

Who: Redmond-based classical guitarist Cesar Medel, who will be playing a guitar made by Sequim guitar-builder Pete Barthell

What: A classical guitar concert, with everything from traditional Spanish songs to modern American music

When: 7 p.m. Friday, July 25

Where: Port Angeles Fine Arts Center, 1203 E. Lauridsen Blvd., Port Angeles

Tickets: $10 at the door

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