Chilean Music Broadens Horizons of Upper School Students

It might come as a surprise that Esteban Quito began playing the guitar at age 16 because to watch him play, you would believe he was born strumming it. Perhaps he was simply destined to be a voice for his people, using his instrument to author a conversation between himself and his country. Born in Chile and now living with his wife in Webster Groves, Mr. Quito attended a Jesuit college. There, he studied social issues and was surrounded by classmates doing the same. Inspired by traditional Chilean rhythms and the need to shine a light on social injustices, his songs and voice took form.

Esteban was invited by Christopher Barker, Upper School World Language Teacher, to share his music, language, and culture with students studying Spanish. Esteban and Christopher know each other through mutual friends and discovered an opportunity to help students more fully learn about both Spanish music and Chilean identity. “Chris came up with the really good idea to bring this to students so that they can improve their Spanish by listening to the music but also by getting to know the culture,” Esteban says.  

Christopher emphasizes that “Even if the students don’t fully understand the lyrics, they feel the passion, experience, and the different sounds of traditional Chilean music. It’s not every day you get to listen to folkloric singers who are really passionate about the lyrics and the songwriting process,” he adds. 

Christopher and Esteban were also eager to capitalize on the cross-curricular benefits that the classroom concert provided. Noting that MICDS students study and analyze modern social issues and that many also play instruments, it was important to demonstrate how those elements of their education can be blended to effect positive change in our communities and beyond. 

Keep charging, Rams!