From April 12 – 16, 2021, the NGO Cultures in Harmony, with support from the U.S. Consulate General in Ciudad Juárez, brought two renowned musicians to the community of Retosachi, Chihuahua to offer a music clinic to Raramuri violinists in the Sierra Tarahumara region.
The clinics were run by William Harvey, the first American concertmaster of the National Symphony Orchestra of Mexico and faculty member of the Universidad Panamericana; and Fernanda Villalvazo, violinist professional, director of musical groups and choirs, singer of traditional music and founder of the NGO Péepem Art.
In 2019, Harvey went to Retosachi to visit world-renowned American concert pianist Romayne Wheeler, who has been living in the Sierra Tarahumara for nearly 30 years. It was then that Harvey discovered there is a surprisingly large number of violinists among the Raramuris of Retosachi and the surrounding communities. Harvey noted the Tarahumara tradition of playing the violin is unique and of great importance to them; usually a community of 50 to 80 people has at least 4 violinists, so Mr. Harvey decided to organize this music clinic.
In addition to music classes, the NGO Cultures in Harmony also made a donation of violins, cases, strings, bows and other instrumental “spare parts” to the participants and donated a small amount of medical supplies to the medical clinic in Retosachi, Chihuahua.