Maestro Eduardo Mata’s love of music lives on in Dallas Montessori school

Orchestra director Juli Powers raises a bright inexperienced baton before 14 middle college string gamers. She feels the maestro’s presence as their bows are at the prepared, longing for the downbeat.

The first measure involves life. Sound bounces around the state-of-the-art music room at Eduardo Mata Montessori School, making its method into Powers’ workplace located just behind the cellos.

“I’ve got Mata’s portrait hanging in there in my office,” stated Powers, still holding her baton. “He’s in there, trying over my shoulder like he’s saying, ‘You’ve got to make this place great.’”

Eduardo Mata, born in 1942 in Mexico City, left a legacy of inspiring Hispanic musicians and preserving music schooling in colleges. He was the Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s first and only Latin-American music director. Mata died in a aircraft crash en path to Dallas in 1995.

In 1997, Dallas ISD established the Montessori school, naming it in honor of the longest-serving music director in DSO’s historical past. Initially, it served students in pre-K via fifth grade.

Juli Powers, orchestra director of Eduardo Mata Montessori School conducts eight graders during a current lesson.(Shafkat Anowar / Staff Photographer)

Powers, who performed within the Dallas Wind Symphony for 30 years, got here to Mata in 2019, simply before the school expanded up to the eighth grade and established its center school orchestra.

“I wanted to show here because of the name of the school,” Powers mentioned. “I do every little thing I can to be like him as a result of he really needed youngsters to have music accessibility.”

Powers, who previously taught at one other middle faculty for 18 years, was eager to build out the program at Mata — even if it meant starting out in a cramped, one-room space the place Mata’s portrait looked on from atop a submitting cupboard.

“I wished to put my mark on that and make something nice for the following person to step in and have a extremely good orchestra,” she said.

The Montessori soon opened a new constructing in 2020 to accommodate the center schoolers. It included a new, bigger orchestra space , designed by musicians, with practice rooms and recording expertise.

“I assume he’d be proud that we moved along, got our space, and grew this system,” she stated of the maestro. “We’ve obtained over 100 kids now, so I feel like it’s on the proper course.”

Those close to Mata had described him as heat and passionate about music, especially about sharing the love of classical music throughout various communities. At the time of his death, he’d been working with orchestras in Venezuela, New Zealand and Mexico.

The college, which is predominately made up of Latino students, partners with the DSO to offer youngsters with free personal and group classes from symphony musicians. The DSO also sends in string quartets and brass groups to the campus to carry out for college students.

“We’ve had lots of musical experiences on our campus, either the children performing or people coming to carry out for us,” said Michelle Vallejo, elementary music and fashionable band teacher. “They’re exposed to music at an early age, so I assume that will get their curiosity going.”

Fifth graders take a daily field trip to the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center to look at the Dallas Winds or the DSO carry out. The Meyerson, in-built 1989 throughout Mata’s tenure, showcases a plaque together with his title and portrait.

A mural inside Eduardo Mata Montessori School in Dallas on Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2022, A mural inside Eduardo Mata Montessori School in Dallas on Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2022, (Shafkat Anowar / Staff Photographer)

“Walking by his picture brings the school’s title to life for them,” Vallejo said. “They get to see what our college is about. In different colleges, you don’t all the time see or present the particular person the varsity is called for.”

Principal Tomeka Middleton-Williams stated fine arts education is integral to the school’s Montessori mission of teaching the entire baby.

“You need to ensure the kids know the reading, writing, and arithmetic but additionally develop their creative genius, the creativeness – the spark of the nice arts,” Middleton-Williams mentioned.

The wall throughout from the glass doorways of the school’s cafeteria shows a colorful mural of Mata that spans the length of the hallway.

Mata had been named winner of the Hispanic Heritage Award for Excellence in the Performing Arts in 1991. Upon studying of the honour, he said then, “I hope that I can remain an instance in the field of classical music to Hispanic individuals all over the place.”

Related Stories