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Latino Arts String Program Continues To Promote Classical Latin Guitar Through Virtual Concert

Courtesy of Latino Arts
The Latino Arts String Program will be hosting its 8th Annual Guitar Festival Concert on Feb. 27.

Classical Latin American music comes from a wide range of influences. From classic European artists like Bach and Mozart to the Afro-Indigenous communities across Latin America, each musical influence has melted into what became known today as classical Latin music.

Dinorah Márquez is the founder and director of the Latino Arts Strings Program, a program designed to teach students string technique through various forms of Latin American folk music.

“The idea behind the program, the original seed idea was to establish a program in which young Latinx students, who may not have access to private instruction or conservatory work or private institutions, to be able to study instruments, string instruments,” says Márquez.

She also wanted to make sure that they could incorporate the heritage of each student into the program. “That they would have the possibility of developing their skills at a very high level but at the same time exploring the richness of the musical culture of the countries that we all come from," she explains.

After starting the program Márquez, a violin and viola instructor, found that an agency they had been working with had a number of guitars available and she decided to expand the program to include guitars.

Jone Alan Ruiz, a classical guitar teacher with the program, says it’s important that guitar is included because Latin America has had an important hand in shaping the classical guitar.

“The guitar went through a lot of development as an instrument and then it was not until Andrés Segovia that he began to modernize what we call today, what we know as the classical guitar,” says Ruiz. “So, yes, Latino American music has been a very big impact in what the development of the classical guitar.”

As the program began to accept guitar students, Márquez says they had a hard time finding festivals for youth to compete in, so eight years ago the Latino Arts String Program created their own.

They bring in guitarists from around the world to perform and connect with students. While competitors and performers will not be able to meet in-person this year, the festival will take place virtually on Feb. 27.

Márquez says that the pandemic has shown the power music has to keep people going through hard times and this year's festival will reflect that. “This festival is as much an activity of hope and celebration as it is anything else,” she says.

The 8th Annual Guitar Festival Concert will be streamed virtually on Feb. 27 at 7 p.m.

Maayan is a WUWM news reporter.
From 2020 to 2021, Jack was WUWM's digital intern and then digital producer.