CSU clarinet professor making music with an extra measure of meaning

An upcoming performance in South America will be a promise kept by Wesley Ferreira, a CSU associate professor of clarinet.

In mid-October, Ferreira is traveling with his group, Jâca, to Ecuador to perform at the Festival International de Musica, a trip that was postponed due to COVID. While there, he will fulfill a promise to donate funds to a local musical community in need, funds gathered through his guitar and clarinet duo’s philanthropic mission to create “Music with Meaning.”

Jaca DuoNot only does Jâca combine classical and world music in an adventurous, passionate, and completely original way, with their Jâca Cultural Exchange Program, the duo is at the forefront of a growing social consciousness in classical music.

“As touring musicians, we aim to forge a deeper cultural connection with the communities that we perform in, and to give back in a meaningful way,” Ferreira said. In each locale the group performs, they source a product unique to the area, and then take a supply of their new discovery to the next performance, selling it at their merch table.

“It allows us to tell the story of the culture that we just visited, and 100% of the proceeds go to our JCEP [Jâca Cultural Exchange Program] fund,” Ferreira explained.

Wares sold have included jam from Portugal, beef sticks from Wyoming, BBQ sauce from Tennessee, marionberry chocolate covered hazelnuts from Oregon, and coffee from Ecuador. Many students and faculty at the University Center for the Arts have enjoyed these international treats as well.

Wesley Ferreira with young musicians at the Festival International de Musica in Loja, Ecuador in 2018.

Ferreira originally came to know about the musical community in Loja – Ecuador’s designated artistic city – when he was invited to perform and teach at the 2018 Festival, a trip made possible with assistance from the College of Liberal Arts faculty professional development fund. Ferreira was in awe of the immense effort and organization that was being achieved, despite the community’s lack of resources.

“They are enriching the lives of young people in their community in incredible ways,” Ferreira said. “It was with this community in mind that my guitar partner Jaxon and I decided that we could leverage our position as touring musicians to help arts organizations around the world in need by starting the Jâca Cultural Exchange Program.”

Benefit concert Oct. 1

This Saturday, Oct. 1, Jâca is performing a benefit concert in Fort Collins hosted by Off the Hook Arts – an organization that also seeks to enrich the lives of kids in their community – before leaving for South America where they will distribute the funds raised over the last several years.

The funding raised by the duo will allow the Festival International de Música to purchase music stands, instruments and musical equipment for the young students of that community, which Ferreira describes as a welcoming community filled with hard-working people who exhibit a real joy and passion for music.

“At the concert, we hope to spread more awareness of our cultural exchange program in the hopes of getting a few last-minute donations before giving those to our long-awaited season beneficiary in Ecuador,” Ferreira added.

More information about the concert is available at offthehookarts.org. Those not able to attend can help Jâca reach their goal by purchasing an item from their online store or by donating directly to JCEP.