Rhapsody on the Rio Grande: A Confluence of Cultures is an innovative film produced with generous funding support from the City of Laredo and based on a haunting musical composition, Rapsodia, by Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) faculty member and university organist Dr. Colin Campbell. The film explores the river’s immutable ability to bring together diverse people and, using music, theme streams of culture, history and identity.
- WHAT: Premiere of Rhapsody on the Rio Grande
- WHEN: Thursday, May 4 at 8:30 p.m.
Dr. Pablo Arenaz, TAMIU president, said he believes the documentary film tells a powerful story.
“It’s a remarkable, artistic offering infused with what it means to be a citizen of our dynamic border. It masterfully draws from a universal palette of sound and image to share its story. I think audiences will be especially delighted to see familiar Laredo faces and hear traditional sounds that embrace that story,” Dr. Arenaz said.
Laredo Mayor Pete Saenz said the documentary opens the door to the wonder that is Laredo.
“We are proud to collaborate on such a worthy endeavor. This film-making work of art showcases Laredo’s bountiful culture manifested through its rich history and gifted people,” said Mayor Saenz, “This documentary captures “nuestro Laredo,” our communities’ longstanding ability of bringing people and their talents together. As we show this film off to the world, I can only hope that the effect it has on viewers is as enticing and uplifting as I see it. Our community is complex in ways, yet, embraces simplicity in expression and care. We have outstanding educational institutions, truly one-of-a-kind music, talented people and invariably, our bilingual and bicultural border mix is a strength to be touted. This film opens the door to the wonder of who we are,” Saenz concluded.
Arthur Emerson, president and CEO of KLRN, which produced the film, said it is truly a labor of love.
“Rhapsody on the Rio Grande is a labor of love that has been in the making for two years. We are so pleased that the final product is ready for broadcast. Laredo has played an essential role in shaping the culture of South Central Texas, and this documentary takes the unique features and diverse talents of this community and brings them to light for all to see,” Emerson noted.
Rapsodia composer Dr. Campbell said he is both blessed and honored to have been part of the film.
“It is an overwhelming and fulfilling experience, seeing the planning of just over a year’s work coming together. Being involved in the planning, drafting and final composing of the work, recording the live performance, and now bringing it to screen…this is the pinnacle of any composer’s path. I am truly blessed and honored to be granted the opportunity to create a work that truly celebrates culture and cultural diversity, and focuses on Laredo and the Rio Grande. I have learned once again how music can unite and cross barriers, even at times when language fails to convey,” Campbell remarked.
The film was produced by KLRN and directed by Austin-based filmmaker Luke Dillard.
Part of the film’s special charm is its colorful use of the sounds of Campbell’s composition as performed in concert by the Laredo Philharmonic Orchestra, under the direction of Brendan Townsend, accompanied by the famed Mariachi Nuevo Tecalitlán de Guadalajara, directed by Fernando Martínez. The performance was videotaped with multiple cameras in a special TAMIU staging in late April 2016.
KLRN is the Emmy-Award winning Public Television station for South Central Texas broadcasting to a 30-county radius. The mission of KLRN is to use the power of communications to provide quality programs and services which advance education, culture and community, to enrich the lives of people throughout our community.