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School Shows


One of the objectives of the Cayambis Institute for Latin American Studies in Music (CILASiM) is to increase the awareness and appreciation of Latin American classical music by encouraging its performance and study. In support of its mission, beginning in fall 2020 the performance group of CILASiM, the Cayambis Sinfonietta, will perform didactic concerts on an ongoing basis in public middle and high schools in southwest Virginia, southern West Virginia and north central North Carolina.

Conducted by Dr. John L. Walker, the Cayambis Sinfonietta is a professional ensemble comprised of winds, strings, percussion and piano; the ensemble is, in essence, a miniature orchestra that can effectively perform a wide range of music of different styles and time periods. Furthermore, by being nearly fully self-sufficient—with its own music stands, percussion equipment and digital piano—the Sinfonietta can perform at virtually any location so long as there are ten appropriate chairs and a nearby 110-volt outlet.

The Sinfonietta’s school presentation is built around an iconic orchestral work, Huapango, that was composed in 1941 by the Mexican composer José Pablo Moncayo. Walker adapted this piece for the Sinfonietta, and it will be co-narrated by Walker and the members of the ensemble to explain and demonstrate the typical elements of Latin American classical music, such as call-and-response, folkloric melodies, rhythmic patterns, the use of colorful percussive effects, etc.

Provided at little or no cost to the host school, the presentation lasts from about 30 to 45 minutes.