Music group works to change lives one note at a time
Friday, May. 13, 2022
The St. Cecilia music group has begun at Sts. Peter and Paul Parish. Courtesy photo
WEST VALLEY CITY — A little more than a month ago, Allan Moreno decided once again that it was time to put his time and talents into action.
The Saints Peter and Paul parishioner is recognized as a Hispanic musician; he also is a teacher at a West Valley school. As a musician, Moreno has participated in national music shows, as well as formed the first children’s Mariachi band in Utah, which is about to release an album produced by a Grammy winner. He also is the director of the music academy “Mis Raices” (“My Roots”).
After his children started attending catechism classes at the parish, Moreno felt the need to give something back for all the blessings that he and his family have received, he said. So, he went to the pastor, Father Sebastien Sasa, and told him that he wanted to offer his time and talents to help the youth in the parish by forming a music group.
When the announcement was made, people immediately responded. Now the St. Cecilia music group has 45 participants taking guitar and violin classes. Moreno expects that soon he will also be able to offer piano lessons.
“Music is very important,” Moreno said, pointing out that it has been scientifically proven to help with depression and anxiety, as well as helping students learn subjects like math.
“It also helps the brain to be active,” said Moreno, adding that more than anything he uses music as a tool to prevent youth from falling into violence.
“My motto is if a kid has an instrument in their hands, he/she won’t ever have a gun. … Nowadays the world has turned into a very violent place, but if we arm our kids with musical instruments, they will be focused on the music,” he said.
The St. Cecilia music group gathers every Monday evening at Moreno’s academy for classes.
“In the parish we could not find a space that was adequate, so I offered the space at my academy,” he explained.
The academy also has some instruments that St. Cecilia participants can borrow for the classes.
“Everyone in St. Cecilia started from scratch. … In the academy the participants are learning to evangelize through the music,” he said. “Through the music I want the youth to get closer to God. ... I always thought that I should give back to God due to the talent that he has given me. … I know that this gift that he gave me I have to use to give back to him and they will use it to give back, too.”
The group is accepting donations of musical instruments “so we can evangelize through the music, so the youth can keep forming in the Catholic faith through the music,” Moreno said. “So, if someone has a used guitar or a violin, please donate it. It doesn’t matter the condition; I can fix them and it will change a life.”
The St. Cecilia music group expects to be prepared to start their presentations at the church in a few months.