It’s a Monday afternoon and rehearsal time for a select ensemble of musicians and vocalists set to perform in the foyer of New Mexico Tech’s Macey Center on Thursday, Dec. 12, before and during intermission of the Performing Arts Series presentation of “A Christmas Carol.”
Showtime is 7:30 p.m.
This eclectic group is led by Gaby Benalil, lecturer and music performance coordinator at N.M. Tech, who joined the teaching staff in 2011. Benalil teaches Beginning Voice and Chamber Choir. She earned her MM Vocal Performance in 2009 from UNM, holds a BS in Voice from the Federal University of Bahia, Brazil (2000), and a Music degree from the School of Music of Brasilia, Brazil (2005). She also attended the University Candido Mendes of Rio de Janeiro for a master of Psychomotor Education (2004).
Benalil is patient, understanding and kind in herding her young troupe through a rehearsal that comprises a program that includes “Little Drummer Boy” at the request of Socorro Mayor Ravi Bhasker – assisted by the Julie Johnson//Susie Welch-led Drum Tribe – and an orchestral melody composed by Leroy Anderson and arranged by Benalil. Little Drummer Boy features brothers Theo and Lucas Madsen and Lilly Petring. The program includes Carol of the Bells, Peace on Earth and Ravel’s Bolero dance composition.
Benalil, a cellist and singer clearly gifted in working with her young charges, explains that the ensemble is part of a musical outreach program for schools in Socorro County.
Lynn Planck will sing an aria to the Villa Lobos composition “Bachinnas No. 5.” Ms. Planck, 13, comes to recital in the company of her 10-year-old sister, Niki, who her elder sister says, “Is just here to be amazing.”
Benalil has an amazing connection with her students, encouraging one of them to “show us what the cello is going to do.” The students, in turn, do just that, in the company of Zoe, the unofficial Musical Support Canine, who belongs to both the ensemble and Benalil.
“Gaby and her students add so much to the music program, and to this performance in particular,” said PAS Director Ronna Kalish. “We can guarantee an evening to remember.”
There may be truth to the rumor that Zoe will graduate with her music degree in May.