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Music Academy Students Join Lineup of Musicians at Symphony in the Park
 
BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS – APRIL 26, 2013 – Eight-year-old Bethany Najera, seven-year-old Katie Najera and 11-year-old Jimena Escobedo have been practicing piano and violin to perform at Brownsville Literacy Center’s Symphony in the Park on Saturday, May 4.
 
Bethany Najera (violin on left), Jimena Escobedo (violin on right) and Katie Najera on the piano practice for Symphony in the Pa Bethany Najera (violin on left), Jimena Escobedo (violin on right) and Katie Najera on the piano practice for Symphony in the Park.
Bethany, Katie and Jimena are among the young pianists, violinists and vocalists from the Music Academy of The University of Texas and Texas Southmost College who will entertain concertgoers at this annual, family-friendly “Swing into Literacy” event being held in Washington Park.
The Najera sisters began learning about music as toddlers in the Music Academy pre-school class, and Jimena first picked up her child-size violin to start lessons at the age of four.
 
“At the Music Academy, we offer pre-school music activity groups; also, we have group lessons in piano and guitar, and choir is a group activity, too,” said Rocio Molina, Music Academy Coordinator. “For private lessons, we offer piano, guitar, violin, flute, clarinet, percussion and voice.”
Katie said the piano is very special to her, and she is happy when she is learning new songs to play. One of her favorites is “Joanne the Cat.”
 
Bethany said she likes the pretty sounds of the violin.
“My grandpa and grandma gave it to me; it was a surprise,” she said of her beautiful child-size violin.
 
Jimena has been studying violin since the age of five. She comes from a musical family, where she listened to her father play the guitar. Her first instrument was the flute, inspired by the opera “The Magic Flute,” and she has now progressed to not only violin but also piano.
“Music is one of those things that has to be present early in life,” said Dr. Juan Pablo Andrade, Professor of piano in the Department of Music and Director of the Music Academy. “We always say we teach students from two years old to 99 years old – but that’s just a saying. You can be older than that, too – you are welcome.”
 
Several other young pianists and violinists will perform for the Symphony in the Park audience; also, 14 youngsters in the Music Academy choir will sing several selections they have been practicing.
Afterward they play, from 6:30-7 p.m., the young violinists will let children look at and touch their special instruments in an “instrument petting zoo.”
 
Another special activity at Symphony this year will be Play Day at Symphony. For the fourth year, play activities will be supervised by early childhood education students from classes taught by Dr. Georgianna Duarte, Professor in the Department of Educational Psychology and Leadership Studies.
About 70 students, or “Play Advocates,” will enhance the evening’s enjoyment for everyone – children as well as moms and dads – with a smorgasbord of activities, including cardboard box play, bubbles, art, face painting and hoopla hoop twirling to keep children occupied before and during the performance.
 
“A play day focuses on the creativity of children and adults and not on prescriptive games and sports,” Duarte said. “Play is essential to live a healthy, productive and joyful life. A huge factor of mental and physical health is the right to play, and the reality is that children are not engaging in active play, keeping fit and healthy. My students and I are honored to host Play Day at Symphony.”
Play Day at Symphony begins when the gate at East Madison Street and E. 7th Street opens at 5 p.m.
 
Other family-friendly activities during the evening include Gourmet Central’s cupcake decorating, Rodeo Dental’s face painting and game table and the Zoomobile from Gladys Porter Zoo will have animals to pet.
Other music performances will include the children’s B-SMART Orchestra, the Los Fresnos High School Jazz Band, the UTB and TSC Taffelmusik Quartet, and the headliner for the evening, the Dean Canty Big Band.
 
“This is Brownsville Literacy Center’s 15th Annual Symphony in the Park, one of the favorite community events of the year,” said Victor Rivera, BLC Director. “We encourage concertgoers to arrive early to set up their blankets, lawn chairs and picnics – then relax and let the children play.”
Symphony in the Park benefits Brownsville Literacy Center, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to improving reading and writing competency in our area through appropriate and accessible educational programs.
 
Ticket prices are: children three and under, free; ages 4-12, $4; ages 13 and above, $8; VIP, $50. Seniors 65 and above receive a $2 discount.
For more information, contact Brownsville Literacy Center at 956-542-8080 or brownsvilleliteracy@yahoo.com.
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