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Public Invited to Share in Celebration Concert on Thursday, May 3

Message from the President: Music degree 15th anniversary

BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS – APRIL 27, 2012 – The Department of Music at The University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College will mark a milestone as students, alumni and faculty celebrate 15 years of the music degree program with a special concert at 8 p.m. Thursday, May 3 at The Arts Center.

“In Celebration” Fifteen Years of Making Musicians will feature performances by current and former students.

“As the title of the concert reflects, the Department of Music has spent 15 years making a wealth of professional musicians,” said Dianne Brumley, Director of Choral Studies and Conductor of the Master Chorale. “These young men and women represent not only a musical ‘best of the best,’ but also they have been instilled with character and leadership skills that will serve them and their communities throughout their careers.”

In May of 1997, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board approved the UTB Bachelor of Arts in Music degree. Leo Zamora, choir director at Brownsville’s Oliveira Middle School, was part of the crusade of students and faculty that went to Austin and convinced the state board the degree was needed.

Graduating music majors Eradio Martinez and Victoria Rodriguez will be performing at the May 3 concert.

“The degree was something students really wanted and it was nice to have the support of our professors and the administration,” said Leo Zamora. “After it was approved, my advisor said to me, ‘You’re about to graduate.’ I found out that I would be the first graduate; it was really exciting and I even got to sing the alma mater at graduation.”

Since then, the Department of Music has awarded more than 150 bachelor’s degrees and more than 20 master’s degrees. Graduates also have a 100 percent pass rate on the music portion of the state teacher certification exam.

Graduating senior Victoria Rodriguez is a music education voice major who has just completed her student teaching. The 2007 Brownsville Hanna High School graduate will be among the voice students in the Master Chorale for the concert.

“I am looking forward to ending my days with the Master Chorale by being a part of this special event,” Rodriguez said. “Beyond that, I am focusing on becoming an educator and being a bright spot in a student’s day. People will be trusting in me, in a sense, to help raise their children, and I will have a say in what kind of day a child has.”

Eradio Martinez, 2008 San Benito High School graduate, is another a music education major specializing in both voice and piano. He also just completed his student teaching. In addition to singing with the Master Chorale at the concert, Martinez will perform “La Campanella,” a piano solo by Franz Liszt.

At Commencement Saturday, May 19, eight music majors will walk across the stage to receive bachelor’s degrees and two will receive master’s degrees.

David Jimenez, percussion major, said he is looking forward to graduation. 

“My professor Dr. Thomas Nevill has made a strong influence in my life,” Jimenez said. “I am very grateful for everything he has taught me and pushed me to accomplish. My advice to those contemplating this degree: If you are going to be a music major, make sure you are prepared to practice and practice.”

Rodriguez, along with two other music students, received a scholarship from Brownsville Episcopal Church of the Advent to be a member of the choir.

The organist at the same church, Ruben Rincon Jr., received his music education degree specializing in instrumental music in 2009. A 2004 Harlingen High School graduate, Rincon’s fulltime job is assistant choir director and piano teacher at Brownsville’s Lopez High School.

“We are so pleased to have found Ruben; he and our choral scholarship students make a tremendous contribution to the worship in our church through their talent and their dedication,” said Lindsay Irwin, Advent Music Director. “It has been my pleasure to work with all of them.”

Many and varied musical selections are planned for the Thursday, May 3 concert, including the Master Chorale, Wind Ensemble and Symphony Orchestra. Guests will also enjoy performances by some of the smaller ensembles, among them flute, clarinet, saxophone, marimba, brass, strings and voice.

“We have extremely talented students, a consistent curriculum and a dedicated faculty,” said Dr. Sue Zanne Urbis, Chair of the Department of Music. We have 15 years of success to commemorate, and we hope for a packed house.”

For more information about the music programs, contact the Department of Music at 956-882-8247.



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