2nd Tucson ‘Musical Murals’ features 12 UA ensembles

About 650 people turned out last November for the inaugural “Musical Murals” walk downtown, strolling the two-mile route along a series of murals where 10 student ensembles performed.

Organizers had anticipated maybe 100 people would show up, which is the average participation in November for the weekly Meet Me At Maynards urban walks.

No one saw 650 people coming.

“I printed out 75 maps last year, and they were gone in like three minutes,” said Marissa Olegario, an assistant professor of bassoon at the UA Fred Fox School of Music who coordinated the event with organizers of the weekly Meet Me At Maynards and her UA colleague Elizabeth Schauer.

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Olegario is more prepared for the second annual walk on Monday, Oct. 17. She’s printing copies of the route — walkers can choose a longer route that clocks in just under 2 miles or a shorter one that is almost a mile long — and offering a QR code that allows walkers to download an interactive map that pinpoints each mural and ensemble.

A dozen University of Arizona student ensembles covering a variety of musical styles — folk rock, a chamber string quartet, a saxophone quartet, percussion ensemble, the UA Arizona and Symphonic choirs and opera scenes — will set up along the route near the murals and will perform for the passing crowds. Last year, the crowds lingered and at some stops the student musicians would find themselves performing for audiences that filled the street.

“I don’t think some of them have seen an audience that big so that was really special for me as a mentor and teacher,” Olegario said.

“It’s an opportunity for us to bring our music to people that probably wouldn’t otherwise come into our building and sit for a concert,” said Schauer, the Fred Fox School’s director of choral activities. “But there is a movement toward art and health and this event is at the intersection of that, too.”

It was Olegario’s idea to partner with Meet Me At Maynards. She has been a regular at the weekly event since early 2019; Monday’s walk will be her 109th.

“I love the sense of community they have developed over 12 years. There’s something so fun about having that regularity of simply walking downtown,” said Olegario, who has been teaching at the UA since fall 2018. “It’s so fun to put art together with health and wellness, and why not add music.”

Walkers can preregister for Monday’s “Musical Murals” at music.arizona.edu/events/musicalmurals22; there is no cost.

“Musical Murals” is part of the Arizona Arts Signature Series of performances and events throughout the month of October. Visit arts.arizona.edu for more information.

Contact reporter Cathalena E. Burch at [email protected] On Twitter @Starburch

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