Last Saturday, relatives of students and supporters of the Centro Regional de Estudios Musicales (CREM) packed the Centro Cultural de Ajijic for an excellent concert in aid of the piano purchase fund.
Opening the program, ten-year-old violinist Andrea Michelle Ochoa’s rendition of the first movement, the Allegro, of Oskar Rieding’s violin “Concerto in B Minor Op.35,” started the evening off well.
Cellist Diana Andrea Medeles, aged 14, then gave a skillful interpretation of the first movement the Allegro, of Romberg’s Sonata for cello and piano, followed by Mauro Ramos, aged 10, on violin, who played the challenging first movement Allegro of Rieding’s “Concerto in G Major Op. 24,” exceptionally well.
All three soloists were accompanied by Saúl Ibarra, aged 13, on piano.
Next came the Orquesta Infantil. Its first offering, “Sahara Crossing” by Richard Meyer was very well done and there can’t have been many in the audience for whom the rhythm failed to conjure up camel trains plodding across desert sands.
The “Pink Panther” and “Pirates of the Caribbean” themes were very much appreciated by the enthusiastic audience as was the theme from “Beauty and the Beast” with which they closed their set.
When the Coro Infantil walked on to the stage, the big smiles spoke volumes as the children ranging from around six to 16 took up their positions on stage. During rehearsals, the strong rapport between the members of the choir and its conductor, Emmanuel Medeles Medina, was self-evident. It certainly seems to positively influence the choir’s remarkable performance.
The harmony produced by the children when they sang “La Orquesta” by Canon W. Geisler, was still being discussed the following day. It was magnificent. So too were “Caresse sur l’Océan” and “Vois sur ton Chemin” – both by Christopher Lavathier and Bruno Coulais. During the former, there were breathtaking solos by Justin Flores Cogswell and Lellany Dutro which brought the house down. There were more than one or two tears and not only from women, while others were complaining that the hairs on their necks or arms were standing to attention.
Closing the first half, the choir sang a rousing version of “Siyahamba!,” the South African hymn which means, “We are Marching.” The children clearly find it fun and while they kept up a brisk tempo, they encouraged the audience to join in by clicking their fingers in time to the beat. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed it, as the tumuluous applause confirmed.
After the intermission CREM Director, Emmanuel Medeles Medina introduced the teaching staff. He explained that selecting the first ever winner of the Stanley Goldberg Scholarship had been a difficult decision. Amid great excitement he announced that the staff had unanimously agreed that the 2014 winner should be Andrea Michelle Ochoa, who had exceptionally good skills and had made really remarkable progress in the past year. Ochoa then came forward to receive her certificate.
The Orquesta Victor Manuel Medeles then played the lively “En mi Corazón,” by its namesake, before the pace slowed to the restful measures of “Estrellita” by Manuel M. Ponce.
One of the cellists, Eduardo Garcia, exchanged his instrument for a guitar, for the orchestra’s interpretation of Agustin Lara’s “Farolito,” with its catchy swinging, waltz-like rhythm.
With the cello reinstated, the orchestra played made “Oblivion” by Astor Piazzolla, which Daniel Estrada’s beautiful clarinet solo ensured was absolutely unforgettable. Next came “Korobushka” a popular Russian song, then “Danzón No. 5” by Arturo Márquez, and the evening culminated in “Nereidas” by Amador Pérez Torres “Dimas.” All were absolutely excellent and the audience reaction made an encore – “Bésame Mucho” the bolero by Consuelo Velázquez – inevitable.
It was an excellent evening and a remarkably successful concert. I can’t wait for CREM’s summer concert on August 9. More details soon.