Students participate in prestigious music fetival in Brazil

The Nicholls State University Music Department sent 10 students to experience international exposure while performing in a prestigious music festival in Brazil.

The Nicholls Camerata is composed of students in the String Program here at Nicholls. The group had the opportunity to attend Festival de Música de Santa Catarina for two weeks earlier this year. The Nicholls Camerata has been a thriving platform for string students since it started in 2007 by James Alexander, head of the string program.

In the program, Alexander teaches violin, viola and chamber music. Pianist Luciana Soares, an associated professor in the department of music, accompanied the group of students on the trip. Soares, also a native of Brazil, believes the students got the chance to experience new surroundings and learn more about their craft.

“The event is somewhat like a festival and school. The students come and have lessons with instructors from all over the world and get to perform a lot,” Soares said.

Alexander and Soares, also known as the Alexander-Soares Duo, attended the festival before as faculty. Last year, Alexander and Soares attended the same festival where they performed a variety of music that emphasized music of Brazil. While there, they mentioned the ensemble here at Nicholls and sent video to the directors of the festival. They were soon asked to be the featured orchestra for the festival. All the students that belong to the string ensemble were able to attend the trip.

The students had already played two of the pieces here at Nicholls that were played in concert during their time overseas. Before the group performed, it was a matter of getting the students together for rehearsal during the Christmas Holiday once in Brazil.

“Three of the students went to Brazil to see their families during the holiday break,” Soares said. “So the other seven students met the rest of the students three days before the festival started and rehearsed a lot to get back to the level expected.”

Soares, along with Alexander and other strings students, got the chance to talk to the audience before the concert. They were interviewed on stage in front of a well-attended concert, where they got the chance to talk about Nicholls and the Nicholls Camerata.

The experience from participating in the festival is what Soares feels the students learned the most about.

“I think they got a lot out of it. The three students from Bulgaria got to experience a new culture,” Soares said. “Even for the Braziilian students, they had participated in the festival in previous festivals but as regular students. It was a bit more pressure on them I think because they wanted to show that they had made progress while here at Nicholls.”

The students who participated in the festival were apart of the first group of students from the String Program to present an international presentation. The students performed with three types of string instruments: violins, violas and cellos. The students who featured the violin were Benita Dzhurkova, Gilson Fliho, Vyara Hristova, Elena Minkova, João Felipe da Fraga and Rafael Marzagão. Felipe Santos and Fabio Dantas graced the violas, and Wagner Duarte and George Alexander played the cellos.