June 24, 2018

Mundi Project and Utah Classical Guitar Orchestra: Guitar and piano instruction enhance the Glendale community

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By Pablo Abarca

Salt Lake City’s Glendale community is booming with musical experiences this summer. Immerse yourself (or your kids) in music with a creative Bucket Percussion Drum Circle – a music workshop hosted at the Glendale Library with the “Strike a Chord” Library summer program, vibe with classical guitar workshops at the Sorenson Unity Center, or check out the Saturday group piano classes at Sorenson Center’s Harmony Hub – all free of charge and brought to you in part by a Salt Lake City-based nonprofit called Mundi Project.

Mundi Project is one of a handful of organizations that bring music, art and culture to underserved communities through creative, hands-on musical initiatives. Hana Janatova founded Mundi Project in 2006 with the vision of increasing access to pianos, because she believes that “every child deserves the opportunity to have music in their lives.” Mundi contracts with artists and teachers to bring music programming into the community. Their Piano Bank program even puts pianos into public spaces (Glendale Library and Sorenson Unity Center) and individual piano students’ homes.

Bringing together a vision that has been embraced by community, Mundi Project brings performances to the Sorenson Unity Center that showcase the results of workshops that help students connect with classical music. In 2017, Mundi Project joined forces with Utah Classical Guitar to offer youth and adult guitar ensemble instruction. Janatova feels that the partnership is giving musical life to the Sorenson Unity Center.

I recently participated in guitar classes taught by Gabino Flores at the Sorenson Unity Center’s “Harmony Hub” spacea product of the Mundi Project /Sorenson Unity Center partnership. During the first session I sat and listened to Gabino and his students as he animatedly taught them proper technique and theory for classical guitar. Gabino then separated the classroom into two groups – one for people with no knowledge of guitar that Gabino would teach, and another for the more advanced classes taught by Gabino’s student, Rebecca. who after only three years of study, has advanced quickly into her musical craft by being extremely disciplined.

When I came back for a second time, the students introduced themselves and welcomed me kindly. Gabino then taught the proper technique of holding a guitar and how to keep my hand naturally parallel and flat against the neck of the guitar. He listened to another student and gave constructive feedback that I felt the student received really well. We then got up and went into a nearby black box theater, where a Harmony Hub student recital was going on. We listened to performances by Riley Elementary guitar and piano students. Pieces, such as 007 Theme music and Malagueña were performed by the students. Students, teachers, and community members listened supportively. 

The west side community of Glendale is tapping into its musical talent in part because of arts programming provided by Mundi Project, in partnership with the Salt Lake City School District, Utah Classical Guitar, and Salt Lake City’s Division of Youth and Family Services.

I have been working at the Glendale Library for a little over a year now, and I have found the vast majority of community members to be musically gifted. I believe it is no coincidence that many of the youth can play “Heart and Soul” on Mundi’s Piano Bank piano; music seems to be a staple, feeding the soul of the community.

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