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Flautarra Music Students Continue Fundraising Efforts to Perform in Chicago

BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS – JUNE 11, 2014 – Flautarra, an ensemble of nine flute and 13 guitar students at The University of Texas at Brownsville, was selected from over 500 proposals to perform at the 42nd Annual National Flute Association Convention to be held Thursday, Aug. 7 to Sunday, Aug. 10 in Chicago, Illinois.

“We are now working with our students to fundraise in order to make this trip possible,” said Dr. Cristina Ballatori, Assistant Professor in the Department of Music and Director of the Flute Choir. “Without significant assistance, our students will not be able to travel to Chicago.”

Ballatori is Co-Director of Flautarra with Dr. Michael Quantz, Professor and Associate Chair of the Department of Music.

“Our students will benefit and grow from this tremendous opportunity to hear world-famous flutists perform, attend workshops with masters of the instrument, to sit in on clinics, and to meet other dedicated professionals and students who are excited about music,” Ballatori said.

Clarissa Salinas, a senior music education major, is among the flute students preparing for the trip.

Dr. Michael Quantz rehearses with the Flautarra Ensemble of guitar and flute students.Dr. Michael Quantz rehearses with the Flautarra Ensemble of guitar and flute students.

“I was fortunate to attend the NFA Convention last year in New Orleans; it was an invaluable experience for all of us,” said Salinas, a 2010 graduate of Edinburg North High School. Salinas has the distinction of being the recipient of the Clara Freshour Nelson Music Scholarship, a coveted four-year scholarship that is awarded to an outstanding student by the Texas Association of Music Schools.

Also, for the second year in a row, Salinas was a winner of the National Flute Association’s 2014 Collegiate Flute Choir Competition. Selected as one of 20 top flutists from music programs across the U.S. to participate in this ensemble, she will rehearse with the group during the convention; the choir will present its concert on the final day, Sunday, Aug. 10.

“It was really inspiring to be surrounded by all the talent at the convention last year, to meet and perform with fellow music students from across the nation and learn from them,” said Salinas, who began playing the flute in sixth grade.

A member of the UTB Guitar Orchestra, music education student Sergio Hernandez graduated in 2012 from Brownsville’s Hanna High School, where he followed in his brother’s footsteps and began playing the guitar and joined the Hanna Estudiantina. During those years, he took lessons with Dr. Jonathan Dotson, Adjunct Faculty in the Department of Music.

Hernandez said being a part of the Flautarra Ensemble has been another step in his training that includes honing his ability to hear the distinct elements of a note and perfecting his finger work, a signature component of classical guitar.

“We are all – the flutists and the guitarists – practicing individually and together to present our best in Chicago,” Hernandez said.

When not rehearsing and giving their performance, the guitar students will engage in a whirlwind tour of Chicago while the flute students are attending clinics and taking part in the convention activities.

“This opportunity to perform at the NFA Convention is worth more than the price of plane tickets and hotel rooms to our music students,” Quantz said. “A journey such as this promotes not only artistic growth but it also results in personal growth, maturity development and builds confidence in our students. These are the young men and women who, for the most part, will be teaching our children and grandchildren; these are tomorrow’s role models for tomorrow’s youngsters.”

The Flautarra Ensemble will depart for Chicago on Thursday, August 7.

For more information, contact Dr. Michael Quantz at 956-882-7527 or or Dr. Cristina Ballatori at 956-882-7745 or

To make a donation to help cover the cost of travel, hotel, meals and incidentals for the Flautarra Ensemble music students, please go to the UTB online giving form.​


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