UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures hosts 'Sounds on the Margins' symposium July 23-25

performers

From the group Mexican Stepgrandfather are Marcos Cervantes (left) and Eric Rosales

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(July 9, 2013) -- San Antonio is a city where cultures collide, combine and create something new. At the UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures, visiting scholar and UTSA Assistant Professor Marco Cervantes has viewed Texas' cultural history through the lens of music, finding a unique overlap between African-American and Mexican-American musical traditions. He will discuss his discoveries at an educational symposium July 23-25 as educators gather at the ITC for a continuing education opportunity. The "Sounds on the Margins" teachers' institute is about learning to feature music in classroom teaching, while satisfying Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills requirements.

The offering from the museum's Education and Interpretation department, with assistance from partners at Humanities Texas and Alamo Music, has 50 teachers from grades K-12 pre-registered and will award continuing education hours. During the three-day course, teachers will explore music-infused instruction through histories of African-American and Mexican-American musical intersections in Texas.

Cervantes has studied influencers and performers who have followed in the tradition, including some prominent and fondly remembered performers: Beto Villa, Lydia Mendoza, Sunny and the Sunliners, Little Joe, Bobby Butler, Mickey and the Soul Generation, Selena and Third Root.

"African-Americans and Mexican-Americans in Texas have been engaged in unique cultural fusions that indicate how both groups, while marginalized, maintained a sense of identity through transcultural music performance," said Cervantes. "For me, helping develop this workshop has opened up further possibilities of connecting cultural studies and education. I think presenting these cultural and historical fusions, beyond the university environment, can give teachers more tools to use in the classroom."

The three-day experience culminates in a concert, free and open to the public, 6-8 p.m., Thursday, July 25, at the museum. Cervantes, in the guise of "Mexican Stepgrandfather" will lead the concert, followed by DJ J.J. Lopez, noted for a "Chicano Soul" sound, then Bombasta, known for their hip-hop Cumbia sound.

"For educators, this workshop is an opportunity to explore collaboration, connections between subjects, critical thinking, different learning styles, and the possibilities of teaching through music," said Christian Clark, ITC senior program coordinator.  "For the public attending this performance, it's an opportunity to experience something unique -- a rich history and tradition that melds the creative styles of two cultures into something new and different. We're looking forward to bringing some great performances to the community."

The Institute of Texan Cultures is on the UTSA HemisFair Park Campus, 801 E. César E. Chávez Blvd., a short distance from the Alamo and the River Walk. Regular hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Saturday; noon-5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $8 for adults (ages 12-64); $7 for seniors (ages 65+); $6 for children (ages 3-11); free with membership or UTSA or Alamo Colleges identification. For more information, call 210-458-2300 or visit TexanCultures.com.