Alejandro Gonzalez Beltran
PROGRAM DIRECTOR/LEAD STRING TEACHING ARTIST
Tocando is an after-school program that provides music learning and performing opportunities to elementary and middle school students in El Segundo Barrio. Music education is used as a vehicle for children to acquire valuable tools of teamwork, self-confidence, leadership, and academic success.
Alejandro Gonzalez Beltran, a native of Pereira, Colombia, holds a master’s degree in cello performance from Missouri State University, where he studied with Dr. Michael A. Murray. Mr. Gonzalez started playing cello at age 15, and ever since he has been actively involved in the making of chamber and orchestral music with different groups in Colombia and overseas. Alejandro has also had the opportunity to perform as soloist with orchestras in his home country, Jamaica, and the United States.
Having grown up in a program of music for social inclusion (Batuta Risaralda), one of Alejandro’s career goals has been to balance performing at a professional level with his passion of teaching music for social change, a concept made famous globally by “El Sistema” in Venezuela. For that reason, Mr. Gonzalez has had the chance to teach music to children and youth of underserved communities in Colombia, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, and Haiti.
Octavio macias MELENDEZ
ASST. SITE COORDINATOR – TEACHING ARTIST
Octavio Macías Meléndez studied art history and music (B.A.) at the University of Texas at El Paso and currently resides in the border region of El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. As a violist, he has performed in various solo, chamber, and orchestral recitals in the United States, Mexico, and Italy. Additionally, he serves as a docent for the El Paso Museum of Art where he has interned and given talks on Renaissance music’s impact on art and social control. As an aspiring musicologist, he has engaged his local community by establishing the concert series Bach and Friends in the Barrio which was initiated in March 2017. His main area of interest lies in the intersections of music with art, architecture, and philosophy. Macías is also an aspiring luthier and currently apprentices under Zoran Stillin in Tucson, Arizona. Simultaneously, he serves as a teaching artist for the El Paso Symphony’s Tocando project and a sectional violist for the Ciudad Juárez symphony and the El Paso del Norte Philharmonic, which he also helps administrate.
Mary Jane Maus
MUSICIANSHIP TEACHING ARTIST
Having attended West Texas A & M University, in Canyon Texas, Mary Jane graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education with a Music Certification and a Kindergarten Certification. Years later, she received her Gifted and Talented Endorsement through the El Paso Independent School District. Mary Jane’s teaching experience for El Paso Independent School District includes 15 years in the Elementary Schools teaching Regular Education and GT in every grade level from K-5-all subjects.
The last 14 years, Mary Jane has been teaching music in a special program called Mobile Melodies which services schools without an elementary music teacher. In addition to teaching, she helps write music curriculum and is a teacher leader to assist with training other elementary music teachers. At the University Level, from 2003-2009, she taught the Music Lab portion of a Whole Arts course at the University of Texas at El Paso. This Music Lab gave students in the elementary education program a general overview of music basics. For two years she wrote and hosted the Music Menagerie Music Program for Public TV with the El Paso School District.
DIANA GILLILAND - STRING TEACHING ARTIST
STRING TEACHING ARTIST
Mrs. Gilliland is a retired orchestra teacher with the El Paso Independent School District with over 37 years of teaching experience. Mrs.Gilliland was awarded the 2017 TODA Orchestra Director of the Year Award for her many accomplishments with EPISD. She is an active member of TMEA and has held the position of Section Violinist of the El Paso Symphony Orchestra for over 30 years.