Music group works to change lives one note at a time

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Friday May. 13, 2022

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The St. Cecilia music group started in Sts. Parish Peter and Paul. Courtesy picture

By Laura Vallejo

Intermountain Catholic

WEST VALLEY CITY — Just over a month ago, Allan Moreno decided once again it was time to put his time and talents into action.

The parishioner of Saints Peter and Paul is recognized as a Hispanic musician; he is also a teacher at a West Valley school. As a musician, Moreno has appeared on national music shows and formed the first children’s Mariachi band in Utah, which is set to release a Grammy-winning produced album. He is also director of the music academy “Mis Raices” (“My roots”).

After his children began attending catechism classes at the parish, Moreno felt the need to give something back for all the blessings he and his family received, he said. So he went to the parish priest, Father Sébastien Sasa, and told him that he wanted to offer his time and talents to help the young people of the parish by forming a music group.

When the announcement was made, people reacted immediately. Today, the St. Cecilia music group has 45 participants taking guitar and violin lessons. Moreno expects that soon he will also be able to offer piano lessons.

“Music is very important,” Moreno said, pointing out that it’s been scientifically proven to help with depression and anxiety, as well as help 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 young people from falling into violence.

“My motto is that if a child has an instrument in his hands, he will never have a weapon. … Nowadays the world has become a very violent place, but if we arm our children with musical instruments, they will focus on music,” he said.

The St. Cecilia music group meets every Monday night at Moreno Academy for lessons.

“In the parish, we couldn’t find adequate space, so I offered the space to my academy,” he explained.

The academy also has instruments that St. Cecilia attendees can borrow for lessons.

“Everyone at St. Cecilia started from scratch. … In the academy, participants learn to evangelize through music,” he said. “Through music, I want young people to come closer to God. …I always thought I should give back to God because of the talent he gave me. … I know that this gift he gave me, I have to use it to return it to him and they will also use it to return it.

The group accepts donations of musical instruments “so that we can evangelize through music, so that young people can continue to be formed in the Catholic faith through music,” Moreno said. “So if anyone has a used guitar or violin, please donate it. It doesn’t matter what the condition is; I can fix them and it will change a life.

The St. Cecilia music group expects to be ready to begin performing at the church in a few months.

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