AUSTIN, Texas—Rockport-Fulton High School choir director Martha Luigi was a substantial inspiration in Cory Reeves’ life. She shared the gift of music with him, and this month The University of Texas at Austin student goes back to the small coastal community to return the favor.
As part of the university’s new artsreach program, Reeves will conduct a weeklong series of classes and performances in his hometown of Rockport. The residency will culminate in a holiday concert by the Corpus Christi Symphony, featuring Reeves as a guest conductor. The concert, which will be held at 2 p.m., Dec. 16 in the Martha Luigi Auditorium, marks the first time the symphony has performed in Rockport. The event also will be a benefit for the newly formed Aransas County Independent School District Education Foundation.
|Photo by Marsha Miller|
Luigi, who died in 1999, was the choir director at Rockport-Fulton High School for more than 20 years. “Through the generosity of a scholarship bearing her name, I have been able to continue my exploration of music at The University of Texas at Austin,” Reeves said. “I am delighted to return to Rockport to share the art of music with the schools and community which inspired me to pursue music as a vocation.”
The artsreach program was initiated by the university’s College of Fine Arts to build new audiences for art and music in remote areas of the state and to foster better relationships between artists and their constituencies. The new program allows students to establish residencies in their home communities and present overviews of their work. The University Co-op, a college department store serving the university community since 1896, is providing initial funding for the project.
“Cory Reeves’ activities in Rockport during the week of Dec. 10-16 are exactly the kind of project that George Mitchell (president of the University Co-op) and I had in mind when we began collaborating in this area,” said Dr. Robert Freeman, dean of the College of Fine Arts. “His work in the community reflects the strong pedagogical influence of his music teachers, while demonstrating to the citizens of his hometown the artistic value added as the result of his education at the university.
“Martha Luigi sent him to us — now he goes back. Cory will undoubtedly recruit the next generation of musicians.”
In addition to rehearsing and performing with the high school choir in Rockport, Reeves will teach music lessons directly related to the holiday symphony concert in middle and elementary school music classes. Reeves and the students will listen to, sing and analyze some of the music that will be performed in the holiday concert. He also will introduce them to various orchestral instruments and will review concert etiquette.
“It is my hope that through the artsreach program residency, members of the Rockport-Fulton community — both participants and those who attend the concert — will be able to come together to share in an art form which has different meanings in the lives of each individual,” Reeves said.
Through special arrangements, tickets for the concert will be provided for students who otherwise might not have the opportunity to attend such an event. The choir and symphony will perform selections from Handel’s Messiah, Robert Shaw’s The Many Moods of Christmas and other holiday selections.
Reeves will graduate with a degree in choral music studies in May. He hopes to teach in the public school system and eventually pursue a doctor’s degree in musical arts/choral conducting. “Music is the universal force which transcends the barriers of language, culture and age,” he said. “I chose conducting because I believe it’s the best way to spread the word — to bring the most people together in a common purpose and to reach the largest audience through music.”
While at the university, Reeves has worked with music students in the Austin and Round Rock school districts. He also is choral director at Rolling Hills Community Church in Lago Vista, where he conducts the Chancel Choir, the Jubilaires (women’s chorus) and the Rolling Hills Orchestra.
Reeves is the recipient of several scholarships, including the Virginia McBride Hudson Endowed Scholarship in Music, the Mary Farris Gibson Memorial Scholarship in Music, the Georgia B. Lucas Foundation Fund Scholarship, the Getty Fund Scholarship and the Martha Luigi Choral Music Scholarship. He is a member of the university’s Chamber Singers and has served as an accompanist for the Men’s Chorus on campus.