Al Ard

(September 19, 1946 - December 18, 2015)

Al Ard
Photo by Leda Shapiro
Al Ard at Topanga Banjo-Fiddle Contest in 1998.

By Ed Glass and Fron Heller

Our friend Al Ard died December 18, 2015 at the age of 69.

Only rarely did he venture far from Lennox and Inglewood. But staying local never impeded the breadth and depth of his humanity and understanding.

old picture of Al ArdAl was an unpretentious and completely unselfish mentor to everyone, perhaps most importantly in a spiritual way. He never hesitated to enthusiastically teach others whatever he knew in the realm of music: spoons, rhythm, singing, guitar, harmonica, banjo, or anything else. His teaching was always right on, but then the students always seemed to remember him much more than the subject matter he taught. After teaching banjo at McCabe’s, he would generously invite the class over to his house where they learned to appreciate the Old Time sound, and Al Ard, even more.

Old Time music was an important part of his life. His spirit was released in part through the bounty of music he provided, a wonderful pipeline between his inner self and others. He was passionate about having a good time and spending time with his friends; singing songs and playing tunes with them was always high on the list.

The music community of California and the West Coast, and hundreds of others, were touched by his many good qualities, and he made the world a better place. There are many who will always keep him in a warm place in their hearts.