Arquetopia, Foundation for Development

Arquetopia is a non-profit foundation promoting Development and social transformation through educational, artistic and cultural youth programs. Students participating in the program are immersed in a process of broadening their options as future adults, getting access to high-quality instruction, developing professionalism and social awareness through artistic and cultural development in an international community.
Oct 26, 2016

Arquetopia Music Programs and Tremendous Growth in 2016

New Students in the Camerata, with Mr. Davis
New Students in the Camerata, with Mr. Davis

Warmest greetings from Arquetopia Foundation in Puebla and Oaxaca, southern Mexico. It is because of you, our generous Global Giving donors, that our outstanding young music students have had a truly exceptional year of progress and growth.

Since our last report, we were privileged again to have our dear friend, esteemed clarinetist and music educator Jenny Wright-Tolen from Las Vegas, Nevada here for two memorable weeks during the late summer to work in classes and rehearsals with our music students, culminating in a well-received recital of La Camerata de Clarinetes Juvenil de México (The Youth Clarinet Camerata of Mexico), Arquetopia’s advanced performing ensemble of the top students of the studio, with Ms. Wright-Tolen as special guest artist. Pieces performed in the recital at Arquetopia Foundation include Symphony No. 25 in G minor by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, “Pavane for a Dead Princess” by Maurice Ravel, “Carmen Suite” by Georges Bizet featuring Ms. Tolen as soloist, “The Elf-King” by Franz Schubert featuring solos by all members of the ensemble, and “Lekho Neraneno,” a Jewish traditional featuring 16-year-old Ángel, the ensemble’s principal clarinetist. About the experience, Ángel, who makes a five-hour trip twice a month from Oaxaca to study music at Arquetopia in Puebla, said, “Working with Ms. Tolen was one of the highlights of this year. I learned a lot in a short amount of time. She was so much fun, I hope she will come back every summer.”

We are pleased to announce that having already been awarded Aquetopia’s Carlos Chávez Award for outstanding contribution to the arts, human rights, and international cultural exchange in Spring 2011, Ms. Tolen was named to the Board of Directors of Arquetopia for her consummate professionalism, longtime support, and hands-on participation in the programs and activities that benefit Arquetopia’s serious music students.

This fall, we offered another open-enrollment term and scholarship auditions in Puebla which enabled more serious but financially limited young students to access quality one-on-one instruction and ensemble training at little to no cost. From over 20 applications we received, we grew significantly as a studio after accepting several new students into the program including Raul, Erik, Daniel, Aranza, Karla, and Pablo. As with the rest of Arquetopia’s music students, these new students now receive intensive weekly individual instruction as well as the competitive opportunity to perform as full members of the Camerata. Currently, the ensemble is rehearsing to record several difficult pieces as a demo series in audio and video to debut its new members and advanced repertoire.

We will soon be opening an open-enrollment term in Oaxaca in order to provide these opportunities to even more students in southern Mexico.

With the donations we received via Global Giving since our last report, we were able to upgrade the lighting system in the music studio with movable LED fixtures to minimize energy use and eliminate eye strain. We purchased for the studio a much-needed stereo sound system for using the 15 new volumes of “Music Minus One” and Dowani/Hal Leonard Series Play-Along practice software programs we also purchased which provide orchestral and piano accompaniments to the students’ serious repertoire. We were able to have four student instruments beautifully fixed that direly needed serious repairs due to various problems such as cracks, deteriorated pads, and even broken keys. We were able to supply many accessories including good mouthpieces and high-quality reeds, chromatic tuners, metronomes, thumb support cushions, and maintenance supplies to the students who were also trained in an intensive workshop on the care and maintenance of their equipment. For each student, we were able to print and provide a 45-page volume created by our director Chris Davis of conservatory warm-ups, technical exercises, and important orchestral excerpts. We also obtained new method books and incidentals such as notebooks, pencils, and sturdy folders for each student.

For your continued support of our music programs and opportunities for dedicated but marginalized youth through your generous donations via Global Giving, thank you from all of us at Arquetopia, and have a marvelous autumn.

Raul in Individual Lesson with Mr. Davis
Raul in Individual Lesson with Mr. Davis
New Student Kits incl. Method Books, Software, CDs
New Student Kits incl. Method Books, Software, CDs
Angel and Emmanuel in Rehearsal Session in Oaxaca
Angel and Emmanuel in Rehearsal Session in Oaxaca
Arquetopia Music Studio w/Upgraded Lighting System
Arquetopia Music Studio w/Upgraded Lighting System
Students in Recital with Ms. Tolen and Mr. Davis
Students in Recital with Ms. Tolen and Mr. Davis
Apr 26, 2016

Practice & Perseverance Are Positively Paying Off

Young student Angel in recent solo recital
Young student Angel in recent solo recital

Warm hellos from all of us at Arquetopia! Our small but focused music programs continue to expand, mounting a uniquely renowned presence in these regions of southern Mexico where quality music programs and facilities are indeed a rare find. Our students have been progressing rapidly, well exceeding expectations.

 

Expanding his presence as an up-and-coming artist in different regions of the country, 16-year-old Ángel, one of Arquetopia’s most accomplished students, recently performed as soloist at the Universidad del Mar in Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca. Ángel gave a public recital as part of the university’s concert series, drawing a large crowd. Ángel continues to work on an especially challenging curriculum of varied repertoire including a solo concerto he will be performing as invited soloist with a symphony in Oaxaca, and several jazz pieces he is using for upcoming recitals. Ángel also now teaches two young clarinet students of his own in the city of Oaxaca, using much of Arquetopia’s educational model and materials in his own teaching methods.

 

Another rising star in our music programs, Giovanni, recently completed a two-week music study residency at Arquetopia’s secondary center in Oaxaca while also participating in practice sessions at the Escuela de Bellas Artes of Oaxaca’s University of Benito Juárez along with Ángel, who lives in Oaxaca and who has been mentoring Giovanni since Giovanni joined the music studio last year.

 

We are happy to report that both Giovanni and Ángel have been able to upgrade from their previous, rather limited plastic student instruments, to very nice wooden professional-model clarinets since our last report. With program director Christopher Davis’s help, Giovanni was able to purchase a very special instrument at an affordable price with help from the donations of our generous Global Giving supporters. He is now using a vintage Buffet R13 clarinet in immaculate condition with which he is currently preparing for a round of auditions for various music schools. With your help through Global Giving, Ángel is now in process of purchasing an equally tremendous instrument himself from Mr. Davis.

 

We continue to produce more remarkable videos with our advanced students as part of our YouTube practice session series in order to keep the students constantly practicing and rehearsing intensely as if everything they are preparing is p for immediate public solo concerts. The students are motivated to work harder knowing that their informal performance in class will be presented on YouTube and Vimeo (whether they are ready or not), ensuring that the students are well-organized and managing their time wisely. The video series project pushes students meet goals in fulfillment of their obligations as full-scholarship recipients while also eliminating stage fright, as they have become accustomed to being watched and critiqued regularly vs. only when on stage and in front of a live audience.

 

For the past two months, Arquetopia’s music programs have been accepting applications, recruiting new students, and screening potential scholarship recipients. Final selection will take place in May for the instructional courses as well as for the advanced performing group currently being assembled.

 

Soon we will be celebrating the return of our good friend and mentor, Ms. Jenny Wright-Tolen, a respected professional clarinetist and prominent music director in Las Vegas, Nevada, who will be here this summer to work once again with Arquetopia’s music students in intensive chamber music workshops and individual lessons. It is a pleasure to welcome Ms. Tolen who will share her experiences and wisdom as a successful performer and teacher with Arquetopia's excited and impressionable youth.

 

With the ongoing and generous donations Arquetopia has received from you, our Global Giving project supporters, we were recently able to obtain more necessary equipment including new, ergonomic chairs and and 25 professional orchestral music stands for the studio; new, professional mouthpieces and tuning barrels for the advanced students; maintenance supplies for all students such as pad kits and tools; bulk orders of reeds; large filing cabinets for the sheet music library; new shelves for the audio media; and other important accessories. Numerous educational resources were also recently purchased for the program including multiple method books; new sheet music; and scores for the music library; and even a small computer for the students’ research use. We are currently having a new and improved lighting system installed in the music studio while we continue to search for an affordable digital piano for music theory classroom use.

 

For your continued support of Arquetopia’s music programs and impactful opportunities for marginalized youth through Global Giving, we sincerely thank you all again and wish you a safe, memorable, and musical summer.

Student Giovanni in residency at Arquetopia Oaxaca
Student Giovanni in residency at Arquetopia Oaxaca
Director Mr. Davis with Angel in recording session
Director Mr. Davis with Angel in recording session
Giovanni and Mr. Davis with Ms. Jenny Wright-Tolen
Giovanni and Mr. Davis with Ms. Jenny Wright-Tolen
One of our beautiful, new, upgraded instruments
One of our beautiful, new, upgraded instruments
Exterior of Arquetopia
Exterior of Arquetopia's music studio in Puebla
Dec 1, 2015

A Brilliant Year of Hard Work and Rewards

Mozart sessions w/Giovanni, Ms. Tolen, Mr. Davis
Mozart sessions w/Giovanni, Ms. Tolen, Mr. Davis

Warm salutations from all of us at Arquetopia in Puebla and Oaxaca, southern Mexico! We are pleased to report that, thanks in large part to you, our Global Giving supporters, our young music students have had an exceptionally productive and memorable year.

One of the most exciting highlights of this year was the late-summer visit we received from Ms. Jenny Wright-Tolen, a respected professional clarinetist and prominent music director in Las Vegas, Nevada. We were privileged to have Jenny with us for a week during which she generously took time to work with our students intensely on the chamber music of Mozart. We are anxiously looking forward to Ms. Tolen’s return next year when she will be able to work even longer with the students.

Making remarkable progress since our last report is young protégé Ángel, who has recently completed one of the most important method books and is currently preparing to perform the virtuoso Concerto No.1 in F minor by C.M. von Weber, as soloist with a regional orchestra as well as a number of other standards in the clarinet repertoire for upcoming recital. He is becoming increasingly comfortable in playing jazz music, to which he has especially gravitated over the past year or so. His outstanding flexibility in this area is obvious from the outset. Though Ángel now receives instruction locally from Arquetopia director Christopher Davis at the Escuela de Bellas Artes, a music school housed inside of a former Catholic convent in the town of Oaxaca, Ángel regularly commutes via a five-hour bus trip and stays in Arquetopia’s residency center for several days at a time while receiving more intensive instruction in Puebla.

Another of the studio standouts, young Giovanni has now established himself in the local symphony scene, serving as principal clarinet in his orchestra since winning a full music scholarship to university this past summer. He performed in numerous concerts over the past several months and in a musical-theatre pit orchestra. Currently, he is working on a research project on the vast repertoire and composers of the clarinet as well as preparing a broad range of orchestral excerpts for upcoming auditions and pieces for public recital. He has made exceptional progress over the past several months and has shed the shy and timid nature he had when he joined the studio this past spring. Clear evidence of this can be found especially when he plays in his ‘altissimo’ range, the highest notes range of the instrument, with which he is now quite adept and confident. We are expecting great things from Giovanni over the coming months.

We were fortunate, since our last report, to be able to purchase numerous repair supplies for our students’ instruments (tools, pad sets, and other emergency items) with the donations we received through Global Giving, as well as much-needed sheet music and method books into which the students have graduated. As there are no qualified instrument repair technicians in this region of Mexico, the repair kits were especially necessary and appreciated; in the studio, when students are not receiving musical instruction or practicing, they are often learning how to repair and maintain their own instruments as professional musicians would. The workshops in repairs and maintenance that our students receive are not only to help the students save money but to help them in understanding the acoustics and science of their instruments, why even tiny things can cause either positive or very negative changes in the sound and response, and to prevent fatigue and discouragement that many young students face when their equipment inevitably falters or fails them due to its age or climatic changes.

Another wonderful benefit we are seeing is in how much our programs have grown. We are now ready to offer another open-enrollment term and scholarship auditions in Puebla in which more serious but financially marginalized young students will be able to access quality one-on-one instruction and ensemble training at little to no cost (more info on that to come in our next Global Giving report).

For your ongoing support of Arquetopia’s music programs and opportunities for young students through Global Giving, we sincerely thank you all again, and we wish the happiest of holidays to you and yours.

More Mozart sessions (Photo by J. Tolen)
More Mozart sessions (Photo by J. Tolen)
Angel in master class
Angel in master class
Giovanni and students in pit orchestra
Giovanni and students in pit orchestra
Giovanni and Katia after orchestra concert
Giovanni and Katia after orchestra concert

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