Victoria native continues musical journey

April 29, 2011 at 7:05 p.m.
Updated April 29, 2011 at 11:30 p.m.

Cruz Sanchez's music book has high and low notes. But he hasn't stopped composing his life's masterpiece.

Sanchez, a Victoria native, will be one of 165 students from the University of Houston's Moores School of Music to perform during the Victoria Symphony's Master Series 5 on Saturday.

The 25-year-old student is thrilled about returning to his roots.

"It's a first, because I never sang in front of my family in a large crowd," he said.

Sanchez will sing the "Verdi Requiem," in front of his aunt, Ida Garcia, and other concert-goers.

The Victoria native and all of his siblings were born at DeTar Hospital. He attended Patti Welder Magnet Middle School until his family moved to Fort Worth when he was in the sixth grade.

Sanchez's musical journey includes one stop in Victoria. Saturday's concert will be a history-making opportunity for the local orchestra to collaborate with a symphony chorus.

"The 'Verdi Requiem' is one of the great choral orchestral masterpieces of our time," said Daryl One, symphony director.

The maestro also said the selection is one of the most performed musical works.

The classical piece is performed entirely in Latin.

But that doesn't intimidate the vocal performance and education major. Sanchez said he loves the requiem.

"It's a part of music that makes your spine tingle," he said.

The baritone said his favorite part is the transition because the tempo, as he described it, changes from fast and anxious to slow and angelic.

He said anyone can enjoy this 'Verdi' selection. "If a person is spiritual, it depicts the day of the wrath, which is significant in the Bible," he said. "Even if you're not spiritual, it's still a great piece."

Sanchez said he enjoys music because it brings the world together.

Four professional musicians will perform the solo parts at the concert, but Sanchez, an aspiring music teacher, had the opportunity to practice one of the bass solo parts in rehearsal.

He said the solo gave him another layer of emotional connection.

His mentor, Brian Stratton, is not surprised by Sanchez's success.

"He is willing to go the extra mile. If it doesn't come easily, he'll work at it until he gets it," said his former choir director. They worked closely together for three years at South Hills High School in Fort Worth. Now, they are mentor and mentee.

Stratton influenced his student's college selection. Originally, Sanchez was supposed to attend Loyola University New Orleans, Stratton's alma mater. Tragically, four days after the budding musician arrived, the city was hit by Hurricane Katrina.

The music lover evacuated to Houston before the devastation, but the images still struck a nerve, "I just sat in front of the TV and I started to cry."

The hurricane, he said, took away some of his pride and independence, but not his love of music.

"I just didn't want to let singing go," he said.

After he moved back home to Fort Worth, he enrolled in vocal classes at the local community college.

Sanchez said he was devastated by the hurricane and the fact he had to delay his education for another year.

After graduation next year, he wants to teach and sing professionally.

"I'd love to sing in Texas. That would be great." he said.



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