San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Cornell Ensemble Returns

Last January, the Cornell University Wind Ensemble (CU Winds) visited the country from Ithaca, New York, and embarked on a 10-day concert tour and outreach mission, bringing along more than 50 donated instruments for a small music school in Matapalo, on the central Pacific coast.

This month, CU Winds returns to Costa Rica for another tour, to revisit the music school for a workshop and concert with students, and to deliver 70 more refurbished instruments to two other schools.

“We believe that giving the opportunity to make music to a young person can change their life for the better. This year, we’ve doubled our efforts,” said Canadian Cynthia Johnston Turner, conductor of the 49-member ensemble.

The schools receiving instruments are a music conservatory at the NationalUniversity’s San Isidro de El General campus, in the Southern Zone, and the PoásHigh School in Poasito, northwest of San José, which has an excellent music program but instruments in serious disrepair, Johnston Turner said.

“At the NationalUniversity conservatory, some of the instruments were donated to the school 50 years ago, and they are still using them,” she added.

Costa Rican composer Eddie Mora wrote a piece for electric violin and winds, and one of Mora’s star violin students, Erasmo Solerti, traveled to Cornell last month for the piece’s world premiere. The Tico violinist and CU Winds will perform the Costa Rican premiere at a benefit concert Jan. 15 at 7:30 p.m., at the Eugene O’Neill Theater in the eastern San José neighborhood of Barrio Dent. The admission fee is a donation of ¢4,000 ($8) to help schools in poor communities through the Canadian Club Outreach Committee.


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