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Archive for February 2016

Shoo or I’ll hit myself

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Cardinal 2Every morning I’m greeted by an anomaly, a Northern Cardinal bird that is hell bent on protecting his territory from himself. Day after day he is there to fight himself when he sees his reflection in a vehicle mirror. You might feel sorry for him and think, “Poor little bird he doesn’t know any better.”

Enter Harry a former co-worker that had a victim complex. Every day as he set out to do his job, he was a disagreement waiting to happen. He had all the traits of good employee save one, being cordial and treating his coworkers as clients. Eventually, it was too much, and he was fired.

Every day we brush with the Harrys of the world who live to pick a bone or a fight with others. Or maybe at times, we have acted like a Harry. They are the Cardinals fighting a futile cause that wastes energy and time. Since I knew some of Harry’s past, there may have been a direct link to his failed dream. Harry was a former educator who held an important position in a school in from Latin America. Like most immigrants, he took any job he could get, and he settled down. Ironically, he was always educating his coworkers on their infractions of not following protocol.
This job was his territory, so he thought. He would defend his actions in being rude to others as just getting others to adhere to company policy. In essence, he took it upon himself to be the policy police. His position was one that he interacted with all the operations people regularly. I never got on his bad side because I found it easier just to do what was expected.

Cardinal 1The bird cannot change his actions. Every day he fights himself until he’s exhausted. That intrusive bird was always staring back at him always wins. If you are channeling your inner Harry, give yourself a break. Conceive a new reality of how your life could be. Believe it with all your heart that you can make it happen. Work hard to achieve it. The first takes boldness, the second faith, and the third grit.

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Written by Victor Escalante

February 12, 2016 at 1:32 pm

Posted in Life's anomaly

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Ana Maria Otamendi to perform with her students ‘Musica de Amor’ extravaganza

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Ana Maria1February 11, 2016–At age 21, Anna Maria Otamendi, had to choose one of two paths in life, being a Concert Pianist or practicing her degree as a Geophysical Engineer. Her love of music was first planted in her heart and soul at the tender age of five. Her father wanted to live his unfulfilled dream of being a musician through his children. Anna Maria’s father was a self taught guitar player who never realized his passion of being a professional musician. Unbeknownst to Anna Maria’s father, his desire to have his daughter play the piano had unintended consequences, leading her to choose the path of a musical virtuoso.

singer5This Venezuelan born native and East End resident went on to accept an assistantship position and a master’s degree at The University of Wisconsin. Although, her family was disappointed and cut her off, thousands of music aficionados around the world have enjoyed the Anna Maria’s unique performances. Her personal journey and her tenacity to be the best has given her a depth and wisdom to coach and mentor her students at the University of Houston Performing Arts.

Anna Maria has performed as a soloist and collaborative pianist at important venues and with renowned orchestras in Austria, Panama, Brazil, the United States, Spain, Italy, and Venezuela. After finishing her two-year tenure as Studio Artist at the prestigious Houston Grand Opera Studio, she is a Visiting Professor at the University of Houston, as well as Music Director, pianist and conductor for different programs at HGOCo. She has won First Prize at all the major Venezuelan piano competitions, as well as the University of South Carolina Concerto Competition and the Ouro Branco Festival Competition (Brazil).

group2On Valentine’s weekend February 12, from 6 to 10 p.m., Anna Maria along with her Moors Opera Center students will be performing a first and one of a kind, “Musica de Amor” (Music of Love) themed world class performance at The Esplanade. This free open air performance features award winning students, Sydney Anderson, Royce Strider, Caroline Geenen, Danielle Wojeik, Andrew Gilstrap, and Kaylie Kahlich.
Anna Maria and her troupe of singers want to bring their talents, love, and passion for music to East End families. This rare performance is another dream come true for Anna Maria to inspire Hispanic children and in her own way pay it forward. Anna Maria’s story has a happy ending with her father eventually coming around and becoming her number one fan. When she performs in Venezuela he is there every time as a front row enthusiast cheering her on. Do not miss this opportunity to experience opera singing in the open air.

Written by Victor Escalante

February 12, 2016 at 2:57 am