“And the night shall be filled with music, and the cares that infest the day, shall fold their tents like the Arabs, and silently steal away.”
The words of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow perfectly describe the 7th Annual Music for Christmastide at Emmanuel Episcopal Church. Thursday night, the audience was treated to a variety of traditional Christmas songs, vocals, and accompaniment, and a few obscure but dearly loved hymns.
The atmosphere was so much more joyful as it featured three San Angelo men who have gone on to reach the pinnacle of their careers as vocalists, conductors, and pianists.
Tenor Josh Thomas Diaz, a graduate of Lakeview High School, is remembered first as the young boy who attended Angelo Catholic School and sang in the Sacred Heart Cathedral Choir, often accompanying his Dad, Frank Diaz.
And now, having received a Bachelor’s Degree from Notre Dame University in Vocal Performance and Music History with a minor in Italian, Diaz’ accomplishments are too many to list.
But he was featured as an Opera Studio Artist at the Music Academy International in Mezzano, Italy. He performed as Puccini in Madam Butterfly, and appeared as a tenor soloist in the Defiant Requiem.
“This is always fun,” said Diaz. “It’s so great to see friends from long ago and not so long ago all in one place. This is what we love to do, and even more so when it’s people we love to sing to.”
Now residing in Minneapolis, Diaz is Director of Music and Liturgy at the Church of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Baritone Marco Antonio Melendez, a native of San Angelo, was named Music Director of the Singing Boys of San Angelo at the young age of 15. He was also Music Director of St. Mark’s Presbyterian in San Angelo, and he has been music director of churches throughout Texas, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Wisconsin, and California.
He has a Bachelor of Music Degree in Sacred Music from Westminster Choir College of Rider University, and a Master of Music Degree in Vocal Pedagogy from Holy Name University.
Melendez is now the Artistic Director of Milwaukee Children’s choir. He is also the founder of the Milwaukee Choral Conference and the Wisconsin Children’s Choral Festival.
“It feels great to be here,” Melendez said. “All of our families are here.”
Adam Torres is a professional conductor, pianist, educator, administrator and music producer, and also a graduate of Central High School.
At age 11 Torres was featured as a piano soloist with the San Angelo Symphony. At age 14 he conducted publically for the first time as a student director in the San Angelo ISD string concert series.
At present Torres is Principal Conductor, Loveland Opera Theatre, Assistant Conductor, Denver Young Artists Orchestra and Fort Collins Symphony, and Special Assistant Professor of Music, Colorado State University School of Music, Theatre & Dance.
“I’m running off adrenaline right now,” said Torres. “It was a great turnout. It’s our pleasure to play and be back here in San Angelo and see so many familiar faces.”
Jan Hays Smith performed two duets with Torres, including the popular Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.
Torres has accumulated a remarkable list of accomplishments. In fact, the best way to understand the magnitude of Adam Torres is to refer you to his website at www.adamtorres.net. You’ll understand why it is impossible to capture it all here.