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Proof that Classical Music Facilitates Learning? WDAV hosts "Concierto," the nation's first bilingual classical music program

Mi Concierto by Myelita Melton
Myelita Melton painted “Mi Concierto,” the program’s logo, with inspiration from Latin American rhythms and elements of Latin American culture, history and mythology.

Sundays at 10 p.m. radio listeners can tune in to 89.9 WDAV Classical Public Radio for a unique program called "Concierto." It's the first bilingual classical music program in the nation, playing music by Spanish and Latin American composers and performers with announcing in both English and Spanish. General Manager and Content Director of WDAV Frank Dominguez hosts the program, and Announcer and Associate Producer Myelita Melton edits it.

"We started in 2010 as a response to the changing demographics of the Carolinas and the nation," said Dominguez. "We had the idea that this would be a way to welcome newcomers not only to the area but also to public radio, and especially classical music radio, and that it would also be a way to celebrate the contributions of Hispanic composers and performers in classical music."

During the two-hour program, Dominguez introduces the music in Spanish and back announces it English. Melton, who teaches Spanish outside of her work with WDAV, has found Concierto to be an excellent teaching tool.

"I suggest that all of my students listen to the program," she said. "I think it's so easy to understand broadcast Spanish particularly, and Frank's accent is so understandable and clear, and the pace that he keeps is a good pace for classical music."

Dominguez added that the feedback they have received from both Spanish and English speakers is very positive, and that the show appeals to both audiences equally. "Spanish speakers are glad that another part of their culture is being shared on public radio, and English speakers are happy to add new music to their repertoire," he said.

In addition to stating music titles, Dominguez provides background on composers, eras and musical terms to educate listeners. Melton described the music by Latin American composers as different from what we would consider core classical music, because it is usually a little more upbeat and percussive, with jazz influencing some Cuban classical music and the tango Argentinian classical music.

Currently 34 stations nationwide broadcast "Concierto," including stations in San Juan, Miami, Houston, Las Vegas and Santa Fe. WDAV's broadcast can be heard live at wdav.org and iTunes, as well as on any iPhone or iPad equipped with the "Concierto" or WDAV app.