July 12, 2008

UTB-TSC Student Takes Passion for Flute Overseas to Music Festival

By Cassandra Delgado, The Brownsville Herald, Texas

Jul. 12--Playing the flute disconnects Dulce Rodriguez from the real world and into a meditative sanctuary where she can focus on what she loves -- music.

"I would just lock myself in a room and play," said Rodriguez, a 22-year-old student at University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College and graphic designer for the music department. "I would completely zone out."

Rodriguez started playing the flute in the sixth grade. She was enrolled in art classes at the time, but didn't feel a connection or commitment. Her best friend suggested she join the school band and try the flute.

She quickly fell in love with the instrument and a latent talent for music soon surfaced.

Rodriguez is now one of 12 instrumentalists from around the world chosen to perform at the 2008 SoundSCAPE music festival in Pavia, Italy, this summer. The annual festival brings together musicians and composers to facilitate new ideas and music.

She left Friday for the festival.

"It's exciting and also nerve-wracking," Rodriguez said about being chosen.

Her boyfriend gave her a flyer about SoundSCAPE after he attended a clinic administered by one of its percussion professors at UTB-TSC.

"Well, I won't lose anything, might as well audition," she said.

Rodriguez had to submit a personal statement, a list of contemporary music she's been performing, and play two contrasting style pieces to be considered. The festival focuses more on modern music from the 20th and 21st centuries, which is not what she is accustomed to.

"This music is completely brand new," Rodriguez said. She said she will perform solo or small ensemble pieces with other students at the festival.

After the initial shock and joy of being chosen subsided, Rodriguez had to worry about getting to Italy. She had money she'd saved and help from her dad, but was still unsure if she could afford such an expensive trip.

With the support of Mina Kramer, a music professor at UTB-TSC, Rodriguez realized that SoundSCAPE was too good of an opportunity to pass up.

"I did fundraising for all of this," she said. "I also applied to different scholarships."

She collaborated with fellow musicians and decided to put on a concert to draw donations for her trip. Sponsorship from various doctors, UTB-TSC faculty and contributions from her friends and family ultimately enabled her to attend the festival.

"This whole thing helped me realize how awesome this community is," Rodriguez said. "It makes me value the community a lot more."

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