The legacy of a local musician keeps on living, and is now getting the limelight in a music fest in Houston. Jonathan Keith is the grandson of late Moises “Blondie” Calderón and is performing at the Texas Music Festival every Saturday, from June 8-29.
Keith is the son of Blondie’s daughter Jacque and Richard Keith.
The festival is celebrating its 30th Anniversary with a “Cool & Classical” Orchestra Series in Houston.
This is Keith’s debut at the festival, but he already has musical experience. At the age of 12, he was nicknamed “The Bass-thoven” and made his first appearance at Carnegie Hall with the Memorial High School Orchestra during his sophomore year.
Musical talent runs in his family; Keith’s grandfather, Blondie, is known in the Del Rio community for his musical contributions as the pianist, vibraphonist and bandleader for late American country singer Ray Price.
Keith’s father, Richard, is an organist, pianist and choir director at St. Francis Episcopal Church in Houston.
“I was very young when he (Blondie) passed away, but he lives in me,” Keith said. He added he felt a need to fill the void left by Blondie’s legacy.
Keith plays a variety of musical instruments, similar to his grandfather.
Del Rio has had an influence on Keith and his family, as his uncle Cinco continues the Latin jazz performance at Memo’s Restaurant.
“Whenever I come to Del Rio, I get a chance to let loose as an artist. I’m able to play a variety of music, not just classical,” Keith said.
Throughout the festival Keith performs with the bass ensemble as a double bass, Saturday he was the principal chair in the bass ensemble for the “Cinematic Splendor” performance.
“I get to be the front row Joe this time,” Keith said Thursday.
The performance is a nod to the music featured in Walt Disney’s epic film, Fantasia. Musical pieces include The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Toccata and Fugue in D minor, Ride of the Valkyries and Die Frau ohne Schatten Fantasie.
Keith’s final performance for the festival will be on June 29. He understands he has big shoes to fill, but Keith believes in a sense of fulfillment by trying to meet and surpass his grandfather’s achievements.
“The festival gets more competitive every year, with more than 390 students from across the U.S. and 22 countries applying for the 93 positions in the rigorous TMF Orchestral Institute,” according to a press release from TMF.