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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Friday Night Live! hosts Reno del Mar


Courtesy of Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance

Guitarist Mark Wilsey, left, poses next to violinist Beth Daunis, center, and guitarist Phil Lipman, right. Together the trio make up Reno del Mar. 

Want to spend an evening being serenaded by Latin jazz? Geronimo Plaza on University Boulevard will hold free concerts throughout the summer with parking validated at Tyndall Avenue Parking Garage. The concerts bring a variety of jazz groups and musicians to the plaza, including June 26 performers Reno del Mar.

Described as “whimsical, passionate and original” by the group’s violinist, Beth Daunis, the trio creates original pieces inspired by different musical genres with two guitars and Daunis’ violin.

Guitarists Mark Wilsey and Phil Lipman began as best friends from New Jersey and have collaborated on numerous musical pieces for the past 35 years. Two became three when Daunis started performing with the group and ultimately married Lipman.

The group’s friendly dynamic moves through their music and shows that they love what they do, Daunis said, adding that “Latin jazz is just really sexy.”

The Geronimo Plaza jazz concerts, arranged by Jane McCollum, general manager of the Marshall Foundation, occur every other Friday evening and give Tucsonans a reason to leave their air-conditioned homes and explore Main Gate Square during the months when the heat wave dampens the spirits of long-term residents.

The jazz concerts are open to all ages, with everyone from children to the elderly in attendance, McCollum noted, showing “not only diversity of age, but that the Jazz genre is diverse. … Latin, funk, modern, classical.”

McCollum enlisted Jonas Hunter from the Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance to spark local interest in the square, where the usual focus is on students from August to May.

“[It’s] a chance for people to get outside of their comfort zone,” Hunter said. The square is a self-contained oasis that caters to people from all walks of life and simultaneously exposes concert attendees to the Grammy-winning Tucson music scene.

Going beyond comfort levels and opening up to the music’s deeper meaning is Daunis’ approach to her public performances.

Being a teacher and yoga practitioner helps her shape music that gives a sense of peace to the listener and touches something deeper than ordinary daily experiences. Through her instrument, she is able to clear her mind and let the music flow through her body.

As the sun sets over the plaza and the attentions of the guests are directed toward the stage, Reno del Mar’s request for attendees is simply to relax and have a good time.

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