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UTRGV music school invites public to tour Brownsville facility

November 19, 2018

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley’s School of Music aims to wrap up the semester on a high note by opening its doors to the public for a reception, tours and performances during its upcoming open house.

Visitors to the Brownsville campus will be treated to food and beverages at the Dec. 5 grand opening of the music facilities in the Music, Science & Learning Center. Student ensembles will kick off the entertainment at 5 p.m. in the courtyard during the reception. Guitar, chamber singers, jazz, piano, opera and string instrument students will perform from 7 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. in the recital hall.

“It’ll be a great way for the community to see what we’re doing,” Music Director Kurt Martinez said.

The fall semester was the first his department spent in the $54 million building, houses the music program in one wing and science laboratories, classrooms, meeting rooms, study space and offices in the other.

“It went great,” Martinez said of the semester. “The students loved the facilities. Everything has brought the delivery of instruction to another level, and I think the students feel that.”

The School of Music in Brownsville previously was housed in Texas Southmost College’s Eidman Hall. It had been a science department building and wasn’t well-suited for music classes when it came to both space and acoustics. The Music, Science & Learning Center boasts new practice rooms, classrooms, technology lab, recital hall and a newly furnished piano lab.

Violin student Georgette Garcia said the new building has been “amazing.” It brings music students closer to their other classes, and she said she no longer has to worry about running to catch the UTRGV shuttle.

“I think everyone gets motivated to practice more because there are actual practice rooms,” she said.

Martinez said he hopes high school students considering studying music will attend the open house.

Jason Mitchell, who teaches music technology, said his students have benefited from the larger computer lab and have been able to use the building’s multipurpose room as a recording studio.

As future educators, undergraduate students need to learn to record their own music when applying to conferences, graduate school and for concerts, Mitchell said. It’s the kind of skill he wasn’t exposed to until his master’s program, he added, and it falls in line with future plans for a music technology degree program.

The Music, Science & Learning Center is located just east of the Main Building. Parking will be available directly across University Boulevard in lot B1.

For more information about the open house, reach the School of Music at (956) 882-7768.

nadia@brownsvilleherald.com

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