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A Symphonic Touch at Playa Carrillo
Classical Music by The Youngest and The First Orchestra of Guanacaste

written and Photographed by Pinar Istek

Before the concert, musicians gathered around the conductor to listen to his motivational speech.

“We are neither the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra nor the Vienna Symphony Orchestra. But we are proud to be the first symphonic orchestra of Guanacaste,” said Juan Luis Guevara Mora, the conductor of the 25th of July Symphony Orchestra of Nicoya. They gave a concert, playing 14 pieces from Costa Rican and other world-famous conductors at the Loma Verde Condominium at Playa Carrillo on March 26.

Oscar Vargas, one of organizers of the night, explained that the purpose of the event was to bring more art to this area. “I find it amazing that young people are still interested in playing classical music. They should be supported. They should be brought out,” he said.

The orchestra was formed as a part of the National Music Education System by the Ministry of Culture and Youth after the creation of the School of Musical Arts in September 2008. The 125 musicians range between the ages of 7 and 18 and come from different parts of Nicoya.
The concert was dedicated to Nago of Nicoya, a folklorist, singer and songwriter from Guanacaste. “This is a big start,” Nago said. “It is extraordinary and excellent, because this orchestra is only one year old. And it is a great accomplishment in such a short time for these kids, who are from rural areas”. The orchestra was created one year after the School of Musical Arts opened.

Marta Arauz, president of Nicoya Committee of Culture, collaborated with the orchestra during the concert by presenting each piece played. “I am impressed with the fact that they sound like a grand orchestra with the little time they had,” she said.

A dinner of fish, chicken, pasta, salad and dessert followed the concert. The 50 guests enjoyed the dinner as much as they did the music. 

Cynthia and David Powley had just arrived in Playa Carrillo for vacation on the day of the concert. “We were exhausted but we are glad that we came,” they said. “We didn’t know what to expect and that they were all young.”

The young musicians, who started the night with excitement, were happy and satisfied by the end of the night, while they were having their dinner along with their audience.

After the last piece of the program was performed, the guests cheered for an encore while giving a standing ovation for the young musicians.

After the concert, Vargas said, “I am so glad to share with people here. First quality of musicians, I am proud of them.”



Juan Jorge Guevara, 11, started playing cello in 2008. Today he plays with the 25th of July Symphony Orchestra.

Gilberth Josue Morales Alan, 15, who has been playing cello for 2 years, hopes that it will turn to something more serious in his life.

Mariangel Saenz Granados, 9, has been playing with the symphony for several weeks. Before her second concert, she was very excited.

The conductor, Jorge Luis Guevara Mora, 46, played flute during the encore performed by the orchestra.

The guests cheered for an encore while giving a standing ovation for the young musicians.


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