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

Orchestra director Juli Powers raises a brilliant inexperienced baton earlier than 14 center college string gamers. She feels the trainer’s presence as their bows are on the prepared, anticipating the downbeat.

The primary measure involves life. Sound bounces across the state-of-the-art music room at Eduardo Mata Montessori College, making its manner into Powers’ workplace situated simply behind the cellos.

“I’ve obtained Mata’s portrait hanging in there in my workplace,” mentioned Powers, nonetheless holding her baton. “He is in there, trying over my shoulder like he is saying, ‘You have to make this place nice.’”

Eduardo Mata, born in 1942 in Mexico Metropolis, left a legacy of inspiring Hispanic musicians and preserving music training in faculties. He was the Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s first and solely Latin-American music director. Mata died in a airplane crash en path to Dallas in 1995.

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

Juli Powers, orchestra director of Eduardo Mata Montessori College conducts eight graders throughout a current lesson.(Shafkat Anowar / Employees Photographer)

Powers, who performed within the Dallas Wind Symphony for 30 years, got here to Mata in 2019, simply earlier than the college expanded as much as the eighth grade and established its center college orchestra.

“I needed to show right here due to the identify of the college,” Powers mentioned. “I do every part I can to be like him as a result of he actually needed kids to have music accessibility.”

Powers, who beforehand taught at one other center college for 18 years, was keen to construct out this system at Mata — even when it meant beginning out in a cramped, one-room area the place Mata’s portrait regarded on from atop a submitting cupboard.

“I needed to place my mark on that and make one thing nice for the subsequent particular person to step in and have a very good orchestra,” she mentioned.

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

“I believe he’d be proud that we moved alongside, obtained our area, and grew this system,” she mentioned of the trainer. “We have over 100 youngsters now, so I really feel prefer it’s on the fitting course.”

These near Mata had described him as heat and enthusiastic about music, particularly about sharing the love of classical music throughout numerous communities. On the time of his dying, he’d been working with orchestras in Venezuela, New Zealand and Mexico.

The varsity, which is predominantly made up of Latino college students, companions with the DSO to supply kids with free non-public and group classes from symphony musicians. The DSO additionally sends in string quartets and brass teams to the campus to carry out for college students.

“We have had a variety of musical experiences on our campus, both the children performing or individuals coming to carry out for us,” mentioned Michelle Vallejo, elementary music and fashionable band trainer. “They’re uncovered to music at an early age, so I believe that will get their curiosity going.”

Fifth graders take an everyday area journey to the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Heart 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 identify and portrait of him.

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

“Strolling by his image brings the college’s identify to life for them,” Vallejo mentioned. “They get to see what our college is about. In different faculties, you do not at all times see or present the particular person the college is called for.”

Principal Tomeka Middleton-Williams mentioned advantageous arts training is integral to the college’s Montessori mission of training the entire baby.

“You need to make certain the children know the studying, writing, and arithmetic but in addition develop their artistic genius, the creativeness – the spark of the advantageous arts,” Middleton-Williams mentioned.

The wall throughout from the glass doorways of the college’s cafeteria shows a colourful mural of Mata that spans the size of the hallway.

Mata had been named winner of the Hispanic Heritage Award for Excellence within the Performing Arts in 1991. Upon studying of the consideration, he mentioned then, “I hope that I can stay an instance within the area of classical music to Hispanic individuals in all places.”

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