Adams State faculty attend marimba dedication

(04-17-2009)

As an offering of good-will and to promote involvement of Guatemalan students in their education, the San Luis Valley Immigrant Resource Center (SLVIRC) donated a marimba to the Alamosa High School on April 8. Adams State College Dr. Sheryl Ludwig, assistant professor of teacher education; Dr. Joel Judd, professor of teacher education; Dr. Eva Rayas-Solis, professor of Spanish; and James Doyle, assistant professor of music; attended the event as did Alamosa School Superintendent Henry Herrera, Alamosa High School principal Mark Myers, AHS faculty and students, members of the community, and special guests Juanatano Cano, a Guatemalan math teacher for the Los Angeles Unified Public Schools, and Dr. Alan LeBaron from Kennesaw State in Georgia.

Myers and Herrera both thanked the center for the gift and expressed appreciation for the partnership. Flora Archuleta, executive director of the SLVIRC, thanked the Colorado Council on the Arts for the grant monies, which were matched by the SLVIRC, to purchase the marimba. The instrument will connect American-born Guatemalan children with their heritage and provide incentive for all children of Guatemalan descent to remain in school.

The marimba was built in Santa Eulalia out of freshly cut wood and Espiritu Maya is inscribed in the instrument, honoring the local Guatemalan community and the local group known as Espiritu Maya. "My hope is that not only the Guatemalan children, but all children interested in learning how to play this instrument be given the opportunity to do so," Archuleta said.

She encouraged AHS staff and students to approach "talented individuals in the Guatemalan community" to teach the marimba. "There is a lot that we can learn from these individuals, not only about playing the Marimba, but why the Marimba is so important in this culture."

While writing the grant, Archuleta approached Doyle regarding marimba lessons for interested high school students and faculty. He and three percussion students Daniel Sours, Paul Kobe, and Marcus Newell played a Guatemalan tune on the marimba the afternoon of the dedication. Doyle said his busy students are always willing to share their art with the community.

Archuleta thanked Alamosa High School for agreeing to house the marimba and working to preserve and honor the Guatemalan culture.

By Linda Relyea