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Music in Corrales Brings Concerts, Teaching and Community to Middle Rio Grande Valley

By Elizabeth R. Elstien

In 1987, the all-volunteer Corrales Cultural Arts Council started the Music in Corrales series to help preserve New Mexico's musical and cultural heritage while starting a new one. As a further testament to the local heritage, all concerts are held at Old San Ysidro Church, an intimate historic structure that functions as the heart of the community seating 175 concert-goers. Vice President Lance W. Ozier truly believes that music strengthens the cultural and civic fabric of our community, of which Music in Corrales was instrumental in developing.

Music genres are far ranging and may include Celtic, classical, folk, jazz, big band and more contemporary styles to better appeal to its patrons, who enjoy concerts eight months of the year (September through April). Their next season, their 30th anniversary, honors a founding member will feature artists such as Thomas Pandolfi, Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas, and Peter Mulvey.

Photo courtesy of Lance Ozier of Jon Manasse (clarinet) and Jon Nakamatsu (piano)

Music in Corrales proudly hosts a free annual holiday concert for the entire community in conjunction with the Santa Fe Opera's apprentice singers program. It is at this and other performances throughout the year that Corraleños and neighboring residents participate in, Ozier feels, "a shared emotional experience of beauty, joy, sadness and satisfaction through music".

Plato once said that, "I would teach children music, physics, philosophy; but most importantly music, for the patterns in music and all the arts are the keys to learning." Taking a note from Plato, Music in Corrales brings their notes- and octaves-learning into schools with close to 100 musical experience events at Corrales Elementary School and other area schools every year. Teacher training is a big part of the school program, enabling students to learn, expand and succeed in life with continual voice and instrument participation. "Many studies have validated the great positive impact that music programs make on student attentiveness, creativity, academic performance and even long-term graduation rates," insists Ozier.

Tickets are kept affordable at a high of $25 and primarily sold online to make it easy for these widespread communities to purchase and attend shows. A local Corrales merchant, Frame-n-Art, is the only physical location to pre-purchase tickets, although they may be bought at the door the night of the concert, if the show is not sold out.

"In addition to the unifying power of music," explains Ozier, "the concerts provide a place where people from all walks of life and all neighborhoods can connect at a personal level, sharing information on their activities, life changes, restaurant recommendations, travel experiences and more." According to Ozier, "These opportunities foster a sense of community that make Corrales a great place to live."

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