From left to right: Emmanuel Medeles, Artistic Director, Michael Reason, Conductor, Lake Chapala Community Orchestra, Fabiola Ramos, Administrador Areli Medeles, Tutor.
Patrick O’Heffernan, Ajijic. The legacy music school founded over 20 years was on the brink of closing until its fans and supporters stepped up with enthusiastic support of an online fundraising campaign based in Canada.
“We had fallen from 55 students to 25, a major loss of tuition revenue, and we were not able to produce on any concerts, a major source of revenue”, Michael Reason , Founder and Conductor of the Lake Chapala Community Orchestra and a supporter of CREM told Laguna. He explained GoFundMe is not supported in Mexico so he set up a Canadian campaign that allowed people to easily donate on line from Mexico.
“As a musician and the founder of the Lake Chapala Community Orchestra it was obvious to me that if the pandemic was to go on a long time a lot of educational institutions – especially in music – would suffer because of the economic conditions and the public health situation, “ he said, adding that “CREAM relies on tuition fees but its philosophy is that it doesn’t not matter what your economic situation is they will offer scholarships.”
Reason got involved when a member of his orchestra told him about CREM’s financial problem and since, he has “ always been committed to music education – its important to a person’s character as well as music knowledge,” he stepped in to help out the beloved institution.
CEM was founded 1n 1990 by the late beloved Ajijic singer and music composer Victor Manuel Medeles, beginning with a children’s choir and then introduced instrumental training over time until its present curriculum. It became a registered non-profit under the name CREMusica A.C. in 2013.
Most students – all Mexicans – are children or teens, but there is no age limit. Until the pandemic, CREM had 55 students and several instructors and tutors who taught music theory, trained students on various instruments and operated an orchestra and choir, chamber music groups, and various ensembles. Once a year there is a public exam where students play pieces they have prepared over the year. Many of the first generation of its graduates are part of the Jalisco Philharmonic or are professional musicians.
Reason and the staff and students and families of CREAM are excited at the success to date of the GoFundMe campaign and hope it reaches its goal in a few weeks. The school has limped along with a few online classes and some backyard or home practice sessions but neither of these provide the funds or the education CREM and its students need.
Ramos feels that meeting their GofundMe goal will tied them over but Ramos and Reason are realistic about the mid- and long term success of the school and its funding.
“We will need to continue to raise funds, perhaps with small house concerts this summer for scholarships to bring our students back,” CREM Administrator Fabiola Ramos told Laguna, adding that ;they may try to produce some all school concerts this summer.
Monthly tuition is $535 pesos – very low for most schools, but still a significant amount for the average Mexican family in Lakeside, so scholarships are important to guarantee that that school is open to everyone regardless of financial situation, one of the school’s goals.
People who want to donate or volunteer should go to the school’s Facebook page at facebook.com/CentroRegionalDeEstudiosMusicales or directly to the GoFundMe campaign at https://bit.ly/2PF8z7v
© 2016. Todos los derechos reservados. Semanario de la Ribera de Chapala