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Music knows no borders

Frank+F.+Eychaner+is+surrounded+by+members+of+the+Anaima+choir+from+Mexico.+
Frank F. Eychaner is surrounded by members of the Anaima choir from Mexico.

Frank F. Eychaner is surrounded by members of the Anaima choir from Mexico.

Frank F. Eychaner is surrounded by members of the Anaima choir from Mexico.

Ana Ruth Lugo Mejia, Multi-Media Managing Editor

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Music does not know of languages ​​nor barriers. Life would be a mistake without it, Nietzsche would say some years ago. The truth is: it does not matter where you come from, what you study, your age or the color of your hair, music is the universal language. Music allows you to travel without moving and for Anaima it is a way, an opportunity to express themselves and have fun together.

Anaima is a choral ensemble from Universidad Autonoma de Ciudad Juarez. Its name comes from a word in Raramuri (the language of the Tarahumara, an indigineous community from the north of Mexico) that means “to sing.”

Karmina Guzman, Sarahi Olguin, Rubi Muñetones, Valeria Chavez, Demi Muños, Aranxa Duran, Alejandra Loera, Alejandro Guzman, Manuel Chacon and Professor Alonso Fierro are part of the group.

All of them are Mexican and all of them share a passion with music.

The choral ensemble performed at the Rea-Great house Recital House on March 23 in the Wagner Noel Performing Art Center.

But their journey and what brought them here is one for the books.

In Ciudad Juarez two years ago, the group was born out of an invitation to Cuba to perform at an International Festival. They were the choir that represented Mexico.

According to Dr. Frank F. Eychaner, director of choral and vocal Studies, the administration of UTPB initiated an outreach to find ways for “our universities to interact and initiate a cultural and academic exchange, to help students and faculty learn about what is going on in University programs across the border”.  The exchange took place from March 12 to 14, Dr. Eychaner and his wife traveled to Ciudad Juarez. There both of them got a sight of the students, the food and though he isn’t fluent in Spanish “it didn’t matter. We were able to share and grow through the common language of music”. It involved many people and many barriers that were overcome thanks to partners like LULAC, the Hispanic Heritage Foundation of Odessa, and individual gifts and also a generous luncheon provided by UTPB President Sandra “Sandy” K. Woodley’s office.

Since Cuba they have been working nonstop. Professor Fierro says that their purpose is to spread choir music in their city. They came to Odessa March 21 to March 23. They performed a variety of songs in Spanish as well as in English, from contemporary music to religious. In their short stay they did some public performances around Odessa for some community organizations and some schools. The choir also performed two songs with the UTPB choir which now consists of 30 people.

Dr. Eychaner says they are currently working on a project to have UTPB Choir participate at an international choir festival in Mexico in the fall. Also he’s working with Professor Fierro to publish some choral music of Mexico and across the Spanish speaking world.

Their takeaway from this experience on one part Dr. Eychaner says “I learned about an entire repertoire of great music that I had never heard of before. I’m also excited to continue to work with UACJ to provide further experiences for the students from both Universities”.

While Professor Fierro was surprised by the choir program, their growth and the work done by Dr. Eychaner, “the facilities are beautiful and the Recital Hall is an amazing place”. He then adds that from Odessa they got “friends, a desire to work” and one more adventure to add.

Both choirs have future plans. The UTPB Choir will performed in Carnegie Hall in May, the International Choral Festival in November, performing the professional touring show ‘Video Games Live’ featuring music from 20 years of video games at the Wagner in the fall and much more.

For Anaima they have invitations to Guatemala in July, Monterrey in September, Tlaxcala in November and Yucatan in December.

Music knows no bounds. While there are cultural differences and there’s an obvious distance in between, music is their bridge.

 

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Music knows no borders