Ron Pulcer – Bio
Guitarist and fingerstyle guitar arranger Ron Pulcer is releasing his new music CD “Uplifting Guitar Hymns” in early 2022. This album was recorded at Grace Congregational Church in Rutland, VT, where Ron is a church member.
Music in Vermont
After moving to Vermont in 1995, Ron joined the Grace Church Choir, singing in the bass section. Prior to that, he sang bass in choir at Haslett Community Church in Michigan. Ron played guitar in pit band for Grace Church’s productions of “Godspell” (2001), “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” (2002) and “Jesus Christ Superstar” (2003).
Ron was asked to play guitar for the local production of “The Rise And Fall Of Daniel Rocket”, by Artists Repertoire Theater (ART) at the Town Hall Theater in West Rutland (2010). As there was no written score for this play, Ron attended rehearsals and composed background acoustic guitar music to fit the scenes.
Since the early 1990s Ron has taught guitar and harmonica classes for community education and recreation programs in Michigan and Vermont. In Rutland he has taught music classes through the Rutland Recreation Dept. (Dana Rec Center and Godnick Center). Ron has occasionally played guitar and sang at the Winter Farmers Market in Rutland.
Music in Michigan
After receiving the best Christmas gift ever, a guitar, from his parents in the early 1970s, Ron Pulcer began his lifetime journey of guitar playing and musical exploration. Growing up in a family where no one previously played music, Ron can still remember those moments when certain musical sounds from radio, TV and records perked his ears and grabbed his attention.
He remembers hearing the Italian music show on Detroit radio, while in his grandmother’s kitchen after Sunday Mass. Other sonic memories: Hearing his Dad’s Ray Charles album and feeling the rhythm and urge to dance; the sound of a steel guitar sliding on a Country radio station, while riding in the backseat of the family sedan; music at church on Sunday mornings. Ron benefited from hearing Detroit Rock radio and CKLW (Windsor, Ontario), growing up during Motown era, and his father’s record collection.
By the time he got his first guitar at age 12, there was no need for his parents to remind him to practice. He knew he had make up for lost time. While he took some guitar lessons, and learned to read music and some introductory classical guitar pieces, he also played rock ‘n roll in a garage / basement band with some high school friends. He was simultaneously interested in Andres Segovia, Chet Atkins and Roy Clark, along with Richie Blackmore, Jimi Page, Brian May and Robin Trower.
Despite his interest in rock music and later blues, he eventually realized that the acoustic guitar better fit his personality. When he heard an album by Canadian classical guitarist Liona Boyd and saw a young Leo Kottke in concert in 1977, he realized that classical and fingerstyle guitar music is played by guitarists across several generations. If he couldn’t play music for a living, perhaps he could play guitar for a lifetime!
When Ron saw Chet Atkins on TV playing Scott Joplin’s, “The Entertainer” (after the release of “The Sting” movie, starring Robert Redford), and watched with interest as Chet simultaneously played melody and bass lines, another light bulb went off. You could apply fingerstyle guitar playing to potentially any song or musical genre. Having eclectic tastes in music, this seemed like a logical choice. A variety of musical styles could be brought together under the wide umbrella of fingerstyle guitar.
As such, Ron also enjoys listening to fingerstyle acoustic blues guitarists like Keb Mo, Guy Davis and Rev. Robert Jones of Detroit. When Ron was in college, he listened to Robert Jones’ Saturday morning radio program on WDET Public Radio called, “Blues From the Lowlands”. Two decades later, Ron took some guitar workshops from Robert Jones at the Summer Acoustic Music Week camp on New Hampshire’s Lake Winnipesaukee (sponsored by WUMB Boston Public Radio).
In recent years Ron has also enjoyed attending local concerts by Ed Gerhard and listening to his CDs. At summer music camps Ron became inspired by the acoustic guitar arrangements of religious and gospel songs by the late Bahamian guitarist, Joseph Spence.
Outside of playing in a few bands in high school and college, Ron’s interest in fingerstyle guitar grew. Fingerstyle is inherently a one-person guitar band (melody, bass, chords and harmony, or even SATB). Plus, playing acoustic guitar means you didn’t always have to lug an amplifier around or hire a roadie.
Over several decades, Ron has created fingerstyle arrangements for hymns, Spirituals, jazz standards, movie themes, popular and folk rock songs, plus acoustic renditions of a few classic rock songs. With his release of “Uplifting Guitar Hymns”, Ron Pulcer looks forward to recording additional collections of his fingerstyle guitar arrangements in other music genres.
For now, Ron would like to perform his “Uplifting Guitar Hymns” at concerts and Sunday services at churches in Vermont and Michigan to start with and perhaps other locations and venues.