Música en Las Aldeas
Classical Music Education for Antigua’s Children
by Benjamin Patrick Reeves
La Antigua Guatemala does not have a premier institution for providing musical education to children, but Carolina Palomo aims to change that with the opening of a new, non-profit music school, Musica en Las Aldeas.
“For 12 years [children] don’t receive any art classes in the public schools,” Palomo said. “The idea [of the school] is to give the kids the tools to learn music and perform.”
Musica en Las Aldeas began as a traveling program to bring classical music to the aldeas, villages, in the environs of Sacatepéquez. It has now evolved into a burgeoning program for teaching classical music to talented children, regardless of their financial means. While the school is not free, there will be scholarship money to assist those students in need. The funds will be distributed based on individual students’ talent.
“If somebody doesn’t have money, we’ll find a way,” Palomo said. She believes that art in general, and especially music, “has the potential to eliminate the differences in [social] classes.”
Palomo does not want to simply teach students how to play instruments, however. She and a staff of internationally trained musicians will strive to teach “how music works, how it’s put together, because it’s a science.”
“I think music gives a structure to the mind,” Palomo added.
Music schools do not simply spring out of the ground, however. They require cultivation and great care. While Palomo and a professor of music education from Leipzig, Germany have already begun classes for a group of 16 students, and an international board of trustees is assisting in the start-up, a great deal still has to be done.
“It’s a big project, and we’re hoping to gain a lot of support,” Palomo said. The school is currently housed in a temporary location. Palomo and the board are looking for a permanent location, and they are also seeking financial donations and instruments for the school.To jump-start fundraising for the school, Palomo has organized a Dec. 15 benefit concert at Hotel Casa Santo Domingo featuring visiting Mexican musicians Santiago Álvarez and Marduk Serrano. Serrano, a baritone vocalist, and Álvarez, a harpsichordist, will perform a program of French and English baroque music, “Noel Barroco,” for the Christmas season.
Palomo, who studied music for many years in France, has been organizing concerts for over 10 years in Guatemala, and both Alvarez and Serrano are renowned musicians in Europe. Alvarez has studied in Utrecht, Netherlands and Cataluña, Spain and he has performed in Germany, Argentina, Spain, Indonesia, Malaysia, Peru and China. Serrano studied music in Mexico and France, where he performs regularly. Serrano has also performed in Mexico, Guatemala, Colombia, Spain, Croatia, Hungary, Norway, the United Kingdom, China, Sweden, the United States and Israel.
The concert is being produced with the patronage of the Arte Antigua Project, Hotel Casa Santo Domingo and the Alianza Francesa de Antigua. The concert will be an exceptional musical showcase and will help the development of a top-tier music school Guatemala. Tickets are a minimum Q100 donation and include a glass of wine. Tickets can be purchased at the door or pre-sale at the Alianza Francesa, 2a Avenida sur, No. 25. The concert will begin promptly at 11:30 a.m. Doors open at 11 a.m. Carolina Palomo can be reached at email@example.com.