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String Madness goes international
Musicians from Honduras, El Salvador, Chile, Brazil, and Colombia are sharing their talent and culture in Pittsburg this week leading up to a day-long event and concert on Saturday.

String Madness goes international

Making the world a bit smaller for current students and future musicians has been the goal of a week-long intensive project at Pittsburg State that will culminate in a unique concert on Saturday, Oct. 21.

Project director Raul Munguia, a native of Honduras, has brought international musicians to campus from El Salvador, Brazil, Chili, Colombia, and Honduras for a collaborative event, "International String Madness." 

Joining them on Saturday for a day-long workshop will be high school students from across the region, including Joplin and Carl Junction, Missouri, and Independence, Ft. Scott, and Pittsburg, Kansas. 

"The music profession is one of those that will take you anywhere in the world — I have experienced it myself," said Munguia, a strings player who frequently plays in and conducts symphony orchestras throughout the region and abroad. An assistant professor of music at PSU, he also conducts the SEK Symphony Orchestra. 

"I want our current Pittsburg State students to know that these new friendships will become future partnerships in collaborations that may develop into more multicultural and inclusive projects," he said. 

The event first was held in 2015 and it's grown each year both in scope and the number of high school students who attend the Saturday workshop and concert. 

"I knew there should be a way to bring these eager-to-learn students who may not have the same opportunities as our Pittsburg State students do," Munguia said. "That includes access to a state-of-the-art performance center, outstanding and well renown faculty, as well as an open administration."

Moses Chirinos, a string player from Honduras, said the experience has been "fantastic."

"I've noticed the people here are very warm," he said. "They are very welcoming and say 'hi' and smile a lot. This city is also a very cultural place. We don't see advertising in our country for the orchestra, or such support. Here, you see it on signs, on TV, on the website. And people seem to be very in favor of it." 

In turn, domestic students will benefit, he said, from the experience of interacting and playing with international musiciansOn Tuesday afternoon, the international group played for PSU students in a recital hour concert, and on Thursday morning the group performed for the Pittsburg High School Orchestra and Spanish classes. 

"By interacting with them, our domestic students will acquire something special about other cultures and other countries through music," Munguia said.  

The international musicians also will add to the audience's experience Saturday night, he promised.  

"The audience will experience not only our usual rich, bold sound that characterizes the SEK Symphony but also, a more mature and experienced one since many of these visitors already are professionals on their instruments," he said. 

The concert will start at 7:30 p.m. at the Bicknell Family Center for the Arts.  

Admission for PSU students, facility and staff is free of charge. It will be livestreamed by staff at the Bicknell so that family and friends of the international musicians may view and listen to it in South America and beyond. Tickets: https://www.pittstate.edu/office/tickets/

For information about Pittsburg State's music program, visit http://www.pittstate.edu/department/music/ 

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