David Ragsdale, violinist of rock band Kansas, is leaving to focus on personal matters, the band announced Monday afternoon on its Facebook page.
Ragsdale’s departure will not affect Kansas performance scheduling, and a new violinist will be announced in the coming days, the band said.
“For 23 years, David Ragsdale has been the best bandmate anyone could hope to work with,” Phil Ehart, the band’s manager and drummer, said in Monday’s Facebook post.
Ragsdale “reinserted the band’s signature fiddle”
The late Robby Steinhardt’s violinist was a key part of the Kansas sound as he placed seven Billboard Magazine US Top 40 hits between 1976 and 1986, but the band had gone nine years without a violinist when Ragsdale – a product of the University of Tulsa who had toured four years with country singer Louise Mandrell – joined in 1991.
“He reinstated the band’s signature fiddle after years of absence,” Ehart said Monday.
Ragsdale left in 1996, then joined Kansas in 2006 and had been with the band for 17 years, according to Monday’s Facebook post.
More:Kansas will play more of their old songs but none of their new ones
“Essential Member of the Kansas Family”
“Since then, he’s been a vital member of the Kansas family,” Ehart said. “I speak on behalf of the whole organization saying he will be missed and I wish him the best.”
Ragsdale, 65, has performed more than 1,600 concerts with Kansas, appearing on three studio albums and four live albums.
“The Kansas Band would like to thank violinist David Ragsdale for his decades of musical dedication as he leaves the band to focus on personal matters,” the band said in Monday’s announcement.
The group was founded in Topeka. Its co-founders were Steinhardt, who grew up in Lawrence; Kerry Livgren, a 1967 graduate of Topeka West High School; Ehart, Rich Williams and Dave Hope, graduates of Topeka West in 1968; and Steve Walsh, who grew up in St. Joseph, Mo.
Livgren, Williams, Ehart, Hope and Walsh all survive, although only Williams and Ehart are still with the group. Livgren lives in Berryton, in southeast Shawnee County.
Contact Tim Hrenchir at firstname.lastname@example.org or 785-213-5934.