While the pandemic was spreading last year, a group of students at Montemorelos University (North Mexico) came up with an idea to minister through music to their Adventist church and community. Today, they have more than 30 students from high school, college, and a local church who are part of the initiative. Nivardo Castillo and Israel Esparza, students who are both enrolled in music programs at different universities, formed a musical ensemble called Youth Quarantine Music (YQM) to record and share free music.
“The mission of this group is to bring peace, a smile, and reflection through music and artistic expression to so many people who have been affected in these times,” said Castillo, one of the founders of YQM. Castillo is studying music with an emphasis on music education at Montemorelos University.
Esparza, who studies piano performance at Monterrey’s School of Music and Dance and is a member of the Vallarta Adventist Church in Monterrey, is a co-founder of YQM. “We know that music has an impact on people, and that’s why we wanted to create an alternative to help overcome, through music, the difficulties that the pandemic has brought on so many families,” he said.
Using the slogan “Music in times of COVID,” the project began with a string quintet in July 2020. As the months went by, more young professional and amateur musicians wanted to share their talents and time, and this turned into Youth Quarantine Music, which today includes an ensemble, choir, and chamber orchestra.
“Even though we have our school, work, and personal obligations, we know that there is a great need, and that’s why, on a voluntary basis, we make time to assist with the tools that we have and take advantage of the virtual opportunities,” said Castillo. “We want to be young people who reflect a light in a confused world.”
YQM has generated a repertoire of free sacred and popular music, which has been posted through social media platforms for anyone to enjoy on a personal level or use in any event. “All the scores of each piece recorded have been acquired by legal means,” explains Castillo, who added that YQM is not looking for any type of profit.
Currently, YQM has been requested and used in several programs in the North Mexican Union, Montemorelos University Church, a school zone led by the secretary of education in Monterrey, as well as the Vallarta Adventist Church. “We have also seen viewership grow in our social media networks,” added Castillo.
In a letter from the Vallarta Adventist Church’s youth ministries department, YQM was praised for their commitment, talents, and professionalism. “During this time, it has been difficult to not let worries and the situation overcome us, but it’s beautiful to see how many talented young people take the time to share those musical talents with other young people,” stated the letter. “They don’t do so to obtain any merit or any type of remuneration, but as an act of personal commitment. That commitment, that drive for doing and sharing is what we all need.”
“This new group is facing many challenges in the short and long term, but thanks to the dedication of all the members, we are sure that we will be able to continue impacting the lives of many people,” Castillo said.
To find out more about Youth Quarantine Music, click HERE
This article was originally published on the Inter-America Division’s website