SLO musician to perform for the first time since losing house and piano in wildfire

Posted at 6:28 PM, Jun 02, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-02 21:28:45-04

For the first time since his Santa Rosa home and instrument were destroyed in the Tubbs Fire last year, a San Luis Obispo pianist is performing on the Central Coast.

Rudolf Budginas is from Lithuania but calls San Luis Obispo home.

Along with losing his home in the Tubbs Fire last fall, he also lost his piano.

"What is the most important for musician who loses house? Not the desk or motorcycle that burns or other material things," said Budginas. "The first thing is the instrument and my piano burned."

Budginas described the flames that consumed his home and his livelihood as a dream, one that never seemed to end as the fire ripped through his neighborhood.

"There were no strangers then," said Budginas. "Everyone came together to help each other. We were in it together."

Budginas had to cancel several performances he had scheduled over the past few months because he had no practice space and, for a while, no piano to practice on.

But thanks to a church community in Morro Bay, Budginas now has an instrument to exercise his fingers.

"I received a piano for Christmas," said Budginas. "It was the nicest thing anyone has ever done for me. I feel that I am a person again and I’m coming back to San Luis Obispo again, that’s where I live. that’s where my community is, so I’m very excited about it."

The performance takes place Sunday at Cuesta College Performing Arts Center at 3 p.m.