Monday, June 5, 2023
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Music in Corrales Puts the Music in Schools

Master workshops bring performers to students

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By Stephanie Hainsfurther

Music teacher Eduardo Trujillo led his Cibola High School guitar class in a pre-performance practice on Friday, Feb. 10 at the performing arts center there. They played a classical tune for master guitarist João Luiz of the Brasil Guitar Duo, whose other half, Douglas Lora, was in the music room, teaching the Taylor Middle School class of guitarists. After the high school students played, Luiz delivered his impressions of their musicianship, ever so gently and respectfully.

"Good job following the conductor, but trust your ears a bit more," he said. He talked about fingering technique and the subtleties of playing legato. But his best piece of advice was one he admitted might be tough for high school students to follow. "Let your right-hand fingernails grow," he instructed them. "The fingernails are the bow, they amplify the sound. You can't take your guitar playing to the next level without them."

The Brasil Guitar Duo performed for Music in Corrales on Feb. 11 and were asked to hold master classes at Cibola "out of the goodness of their hearts," said Music in Corrales Board member Pam Schaefer. It's an ask that mostly goes answered: In tandem with their own dual performance at Old San Ysidro Church on Jan. 21, for example, principal tubist for the Santa Fe Symphony and the New Mexico Philharmonic Richard Antoine White and award-winning pianist and teacher Pamela Viktoria Pyle gave workshops for students, volunteering their time at the request of the board.

"When we select the musicians for the eight-concert Music in Corrales series, we make sure they have an educational component in their tool kit for Music in Schools," said Lance W. Ozier, Board president. "That's a big part of the process for us." The organization also relies on local music teachers like Frank Leto, a Montessori-certified teacher who is an award-winning composer of songs for children and has taught classes at Corrales Elementary.

"We do this program so the students can have exposure to world-class musicians," said Don Bonney, another Board member. Donors to Music in Corrales often add money to their ticket prices so that the organization can continue to support students, sometimes even buying instruments for them. Other donations come from concert sponsors, local businesses and grants. There is even a national faction in their donor base - people who have read about the Music in Schools program and want to see it continue.

And in case you are a donor and are looking for a project to fund: When asked, the HS master class guitar students told Luiz they have never been to the symphony. 

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