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NMSU student recital to feature his own compositions

Justin Raines, a New Mexico State University senior and music composition major, has triumphed in spite of a family tragedy, and at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 17, his success will be showcased during his senior recital at the Music Center Recital Hall.

The recital will be dedicated to Raines' younger brother, Steven, who passed away this summer. Raines said it was very difficult to compose at the time, and for that reason one of his compositions only has two movements instead of three.

"My brother attended all my shows, even though my mom may have dragged him there," Raines said. "He was always very supportive."

Though dealing with tragedy was hard for Raines, he said he was thankful for the support of his mother and that faculty and peers were very kind and understanding.

Raines is the composer of all the music set to be performed at the recital. Most recitals are comprised of students who play instruments and required classic pieces, but because Raines is a composition major his recital consists of pieces he created. Five different songs will be played by different musical groups such as the NMSU trumpet quartet and NMSU Masterworks and University Singers choirs, a group of a least 50 singers. Songs to be played are an arrangement of the national anthem, "Movements for Brass," "The Bell Witch," portions from "Enron: The Musical" and "The Raven."

"I've been composing for years," Raines said. "I'm the last remaining music composition major on campus."

The music department no longer offers a music composition degree, making Raines the last student to graduate with the degree.

Raines has worked and composed for other campus groups such as NMSU theater and the Dona Ana Lyric Opera. He composed pieces for NMSU theater productions such as "A Walk in the Desert" and "Enron: The Musical" and the NMSU Creative Media Institute for Film and Digital Arts movie "100 MPG." Raines worked with Christine Sanders and Bradford Hodgson for "Enron: The Musical".

Raines said his arrangement of the national anthem was commissioned by the NMSU music department and played at the opening day of this year's New Mexico Legislature in Santa Fe. His piece "The Raven" is based on the Edgar Allen Poe poem of the same title and the "Bell Witch," a commissioned piece, is based on a Mississippi legend. Raines said composing pieces is an artistic process.

"The amount of time taken to compose varies greatly," Raines said. "If you're in the moment and if you're an artistic person, 2 a.m. is the magic hour."

Raines said he plans to attend film school after graduation and study to become a film score composer.

"I invite everyone to attend the recital," Raines said. "I love to share and I've been doing this for years. This is going to be my first and only recital and I want people to enjoy it."

The recital is free and open to the public. For more information call (505) 646-2421.

Oct. 12, 2006
Jacqueline Armendariz