Cuban musician Valera begins a week of concerts at local schools

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 18, 2001

Tuesday, September 18, 2001

The Natchez Democrat

When his fingers fly over his guitar strings, Cuban musician

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Misael Valera speaks a universal language.

Valera began a week-long concert marathon in Natchez on Tuesday,

when he visited and played for students at Morgantown Elementary

School and Natchez High School.

&uot;Music is my language,&uot; Valera said. &uot;It is

my gift I’m bringing to this country.&uot;

In Natchez at the invitation of his friend Joe Mitchell, who

recently joined the Natchez Children’s Home, Valera will perform

at Natchez Rotary Club at noon today at the Ramada Hilltop Inn

and later in the day at Trinity Episcopal Day School.

On Thursday, he will visit the music department at Alcorn State

University in Lorman.

On Friday, he will entertain at a brown-bag luncheon in Memorial


On Sunday, he will perform at 2 p.m. at New Covenant Presbyterian

Church. Admission there will be $5.

Any funds raised by his performances will go to the Natchez

Children’s Home, Mitchell said.

&uot;And we decided Misael is a good way to draw attention

to the good things we’re doing at the home.&uot;

Valera’s instruments of choice are guitar and keyboard. However,

the 25-year-old also is a composer, arranger and teacher.

What’s more, he is an ordained minister and serves as an assistant

pastor for a church in Cuba. &uot;My grandfather and my father

also are ministers,&uot; Valera said.

In fact, his grandfather as a missionary in the 1940s established

the Assembly of God denomination in Cuba.

Valera is married and has two young children. Four generations

of the Valera family share the same home.

His musical talent became evident early in his life, and his

parents encouraged Valera to develop his skills.

As a young student, he attended a school for the arts in Cuba

and then later a university that educates and trains young artists.

Valera, though classically trained, loves many types of music,

jazz being a favorite. Many of his concerts in Cuba, however,

center on Christian music.

&uot;He will play a variety of music in the park on Friday,&uot;

Mitchell said.

In addition to his Natchez concerts, Valera, accompanied by

Mitchell, will travel to the Mississippi Gulf Coast and to Memphis

for other performances.