On December 3 and 4. Musical Bridges did just that in the elementary schools of New Braunfels. Bridging music with education was done very effectively by the famous Spanish musician Cristina Pato.  She showed how to link education to music through her talent with bagpipes, singing and dancing. The students were very much involved in the process of bridging the music and education. The students were given knowledge using the Spanish flag, map of Spain and various instruments that created wonderful Spanish music. Cristina of Silk Road Project with Yo-Yo Ma, was backed-up by Victor Prieto with his accordion and John Hadfield’s percussion.

I had the pleasure of being with them as they performed in three of New Braunfels’ schools. I saw the responses from the different students as they were enlightened by these wonderful musicians. The musicians not only displayed their wonderful talents but I was impressed by the way they would interact with the students. They placed the students above their talents. They made sure that the students took a grasp of the important facts and knowledge of Spain and its wonderful music.

The group’s first performance was at Memorial Elementary.  They did very well  using the map to inform the students of the geography and language of Spain. The musicians also were effective in relating the instruments to the country.

I thought that Cristina did a great job of getting down to the students level (not only physically but also with the knowledge.) Being the first performance, I thought that getting the information about the flag of Spain was a little rough, but it got better as they performed in the other schools.

The next stop on December 3 was Morningside Elementary. Students again took an active part in the performance. The group was not as motivated but they did show interest and they did demonstrate that they were learning. Cristina did manage to get the students involved by playing out in the audience. She also interacted with the students after the performance. Again Cristina enlightened the students with her music, singing and dances.

The final stop for that day for Cristiana, Victor and John was Klein Road Elementary. The group finished with a great response from the students, faculty and administration. The students were learning and enjoying while they were there. Cristina’s energy was contagious. She used her musical talent in the areas of song, dance and played her instrument- the bag pipes ( gaita). Gaita was the term that we all learned that day. The students enjoyed the performance especially when Cristina walked into the audience playing her gaita.

As the day came to an end, I felt that I had been educated and entertained. My appreciation for music was greater that it was at the beginning of the day. I was more knowledgeable about Spain and its music. I saw the bridge being formed as we progressed throughout the day. The bridges between entertainment and intellectual knowledge had been formed this wonderful December day.

Ross DeLeon, Communication Consulting Services of San Antonio.