Fronteras: Spurred on by tragic mass shooting, El Paso musicians have come together to help its community heal


The mass shooting at Walmart on August 3, 2019 brought El Paso’s tight-knit border community even closer.

Millions of dollars have been raised for the survivors and families of the victims, #ElPasoStrong has gone viral around the world, a large candela installation honors the victims outside of Walmart and a healing garden was officially dedicated this year.

The massacre also gave rise to one of the largest artist collaborations in the city’s history. The El Paso Symphony Orchestra, the University of Texas at El Paso Music Department, the El Paso Opera House and the chamber music organization El Paso Pro-Musica have teamed up to produce the El Paso Requiem. It was commissioned by a new non-profit organization also born out of the tragedy, Communities for Peace.

“The #ElPasoStrong was born out of this shooting and we are stronger together than separately or individually, and this is certainly the case for the arts organizations in El Paso involved in this project,” said Steve Wilson, president of the UTEP department. . of music. “We just showed that when we work together as a team, we can accomplish really great things and I think the play is magnificent. “

Elisa Wilson, director of choral activities at UTEP, also spearheaded the project. The October performance included original music by Cuban-American composer Jorge Martín and was conducted by the musical director and conductor of the El Paso Symphony Orchestra, Bohuslav Rattay.

The belief in the healing abilities of music was a cathartic release to honor not only the 23 lives lost, but also the tragedy that was interrupted by more than a year of isolation from the pandemic.

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