The cooperation between musicians from UTEP and EPCC made it possible for students to come together for a joint performance.
The EPCC Concert Band shared the bill with the UTEP Symphonic Band during a night of music at the Fox Fine Arts Theater on Oct. 10.
Evan Hughes / Tejano Tribune
EPCC's concert band prior to performance along with the UTEP Symphonic Band
during a night of music at the Fox Fine Arts Theater on October 10.
“A lot of our students will go on to continue their studies at UTEP.
The opportunity to be on the campus, play for their future directors and meet current band students is a valuable experience,” explained Yasmin Flores, the Coordinator of Music at EPCC.
Last spring the EPCC Choir formed a relationship with UTEP.
This has led to great cooperation between the music departments of both institutions.
“Choir opened the door with collaborating with UTEP,” Flores explained, “I contacted their band director over the summer to see if he would be interested in a similar show and he got very excited.”
In order to show the ability and promise of her pupils, Flores traded duties as conductor with trumpet player Shauna La Grange and trombone player Anthony Zavala.
La Grange, who also plays clarinet, was accompanied by her service dog Roxy; who displayed a degree of professionalism that amazed the audience.
“I saw it as a chance to let my students, who will go on to become band directors, to conduct,” continued Flores, “It was training for Anthony and Shauna and they did a great job.”
Flores sees herself as a clarinet player above a bandleader.
She acknowledges that when performing, the importance of a graceful conductor is undeniable.
But, the feeling of playing with her band is much more satisfying.
The architecture and design of the Fox Fine Arts Theater allows for great acoustics, making the experience even more enjoyable.
“(The venue) is hands down half of the instrument,” Flores said, “we practice in a dry space, which is unforgiving.
At Fox Fine Arts in the huge acoustic space there is a ring or an echo almost that makes everything just sound better.”
This new relationship with UTEP is largely due to the growth of EPCC’s music department.
Currently there is a thriving jazz, percussion and guitar band.
The choir ensemble alone has at least 20 members.
There’s also orchestra, the aforementioned band and our EPCC Mariachi Tejanos.
“Most of our students are advised to stick to one activity, just because it is so demanding to learn all of the material,” added Flores.
The music department is as available to the student population, as any other resource.
For example, if you would like to learn an instrument they are prepared to help you with that.
“We have lessons on every instrument. We offer voice lessons, piano lessons, guitar, clarinet, you name it,” Flores laughed listing the various instruments.
The music department believes that with every instrument learned or Liberal Arts degree earned, the culture of El Paso becomes richer.
“I’ve taught in different parts of the country. One of the beautiful things about El Paso is the humility of the people here. Everyone is humble and grateful to be here learning,” said Flores.