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USD Music Entities Collaborate on Concerts Now, Spring Break Trip to Japan

USD Strings Director Angela Yeung, left, and members of USD's Mariachi Ensemble will collaborate on a series of concerts Oct. 6 and 8 at USD as well as a 2018 spring break concert trip to Japan.USD Strings Director Angela Yeung, left, and members of USD's Mariachi Ensemble will collaborate on a series of concerts Oct. 6 and 8 at USD as well as a 2018 spring break concert trip to Japan.

The University of San Diego’s spring break week isn’t until late March, but even now, in October, there’s already plenty of anticipation and preparation for some in USD’s Department of Music. That’s because from March 23-April 2, two USD music ensembles, Strings and Mariachi, will join forces and play collaborative music in Japan.

Selective students from the USD Strings and Mariachi ensembles will be joining forces with the Greater San Diego Chamber Orchestra and Chorus, and Mariachi Juvenil de San Diego to perform concerts in Osaka, Kyoto, Nagoya and Tokyo.

“We’re in the process of finding some (music) pieces that suit the ensembles playing together, but it’s wonderful to collaborate. Everyone is very curious about it and we’re discovering pieces in which both groups are learning something new. It’s really exciting,” said Angela Yeung, PhD, asssociate professor of music and director of the USD Strings and Chamber Music Ensembles.

“This is a great opportunity for all of us,” said Mariachi Ensemble Director Serafin Paredes of the Japan trip. He sees it as a chance to expand his students’ musical range. “Mariachi’s world of music is growing and is exploring new things. Yes, Mariachi music is traditional and it’s passed down from family members, but in the last 20-30 years this music has been changing. This presents new opportunities for both the orchestra and mariachi.”

The Japan trip is still coming together — Paredes said his hope is for at least two performances in each city they’ll visit — and the directors are encouraged by how everything is shaping up now. Potential performances include a joint concert with students at Soai University in Osaka, a possible collaboration in a Hispanic community in Nagoya where Paredes has a personal connection and an Easter Sunday performance at the Franciscan Chapel Center in Tokyo.

“I love the notion of collaborating as well as tying it in with the university’s dedication to its international programs,” Yeung said. “We encourage our students to go abroad and explore and this trip will add a great layer of cultural exchange.”

It isn’t first time that students connected to USD’s music department have had an international experience. The USD Choral Scholars did an international trip to Belgium and Germany during its spring break week last spring, performing in multiple venues and partnering with a German university’s choir group, Kammerchor der Universitat zu Koln. The two groups then reunited a few weeks later during the German choir’s U.S. west coast tour for a performance at Founders Chapel.   

Collaborative Concerts Oct. 6 and 8 

Having orchestra and mariachi styles come together requires plenty of practice and finding songs to work for collaboration is critical. To help this process, Yeung and Paredes are bringing their groups together for a pair of concerts this Friday and Sunday in Camino Hall’s Shiley Theatre. The Oct. 6 performance is at 7:30 p.m. and the Oct. 8 concert is at 2 p.m. (ticket information below).

Paredes said there will be three melodies and one song among the collaborative pieces played by the Mariachi Toreros de USD and the Greater San Diego Chamber Orchestra. Also, special soloist Javier Rodriguez of Los Angeles will perform on trumpet. 

“It’s wonderful to collaborate,” Yeung said. “Everyone is very curious about it and we’re discovering pieces in which both groups are learning something new. It’s really exciting.” 

Paredes, who also runs an annual Mariachi workshop and performance program each March, said there will be one final preview show on March 8 for Yeung and his ensembles. It will precede the Mariachi Workshop, which will take place on March 9-10, 2018 at USD. 

Yeung encourages the campus and San Diego community to experience the sound of this collaboration at this weekend’s concerts. For those wanting to know more about the spring break trip or to donate to help students with trip expenses, please contact her at ayeung@sandiego.edu 

— Ryan T. Blystone

Tickets for this weekend’s concerts are available at usdmusic.eventbrite.com Ticket prices are $10 general admission, $8 seniors, USD faculty, staff, alumni and $5 for students with a valid ID. Tickets will also be available at the door. Seating is limited on a first-come, first-served basis.

Contact:

USD News Center
news@sandiego.edu
(619) 260-4681