Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

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December 5, 2012

Central College collecting donated instruments for Yucatan orchestra

PELLA — Central College in Pella is sponsoring an instrument donation initiative to benefit the Yucatan Youth Orchestra Program.

The effort is being led by assistant professor of music Mitch Lutch and it benefits a music education program based in Merida, Mexico, for students with otherwise limited exposure to music opportunities.

The Yucatan Youth Orchestra Program, which also supports a band and choir, aims to provide music instruction and performance opportunities to underprivileged students from across the Yucatan. Founded in 2008 by master violinist Jose Luis Chan Sabido, more than 400 students are involved with the program, which is supported entirely by equipment donations and outside financial contributions.

“The program brings these students an aspect of creativity they wouldn’t otherwise experience,” said Lutch. “They meet outside of school because their schools don’t offer these sorts of opportunities. Although the program is in Merida, it attracts students from all around the Yucatan. Many come from hours away to participate.”

Central is currently accepting donations of instruments in good working condition on the program’s behalf. According to Chan, instruments in particular need are oboes, bassoons, trombones, tubas and percussion instruments, though other donations are equally appreciated. The program also gratefully accepts music accessories, including percussion sticks; bass, cello, viola and violin strings; trumpet mutes; lesson books; and sheet music. Lutch will forward monetary donations, as well.

Lutch was introduced to the Yucatan Youth Orchestra Program in December 2010 when he and Gabriel Espinosa, associate professor of music and Yucatan native, led the Central Jazz Band and Symphonic Wind Ensemble on a tour to Mexico. Together with Central’s Merida program director, Valerie Grimsley, several performances were set up for the two groups while in Merida.

Central faculty members will transport the collection of donated equipment when they visit Merida in January for a Global Experiential Learning Workshop. Merida is also the location of one of Central’s eight study abroad programs.

For more information or to organize a donation, contact Lutch at 641-628-5238 or lutchm@central.edu.

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