With David de la Mora’s account of eschewing the practical in favor of the beloved, he surely illustrates the type of career that warms the hearts of music lovers.
Set for a Lakeside performance with pianist Tim Welch Sunday, February 4, 4 p.m., at St. Andrew’s Anglican Church, the tenor is, at 20 years old, not very distant from the decisions that animated his youth and set him firmly on the path indicated by his Muse.
De la Mora discovered his musical abilities – “the gift that God gave me,” as he explains it – at the age of 12 in a church choir. But when he got a bit older he decided to study economics at the University of Guadalajara (UdG).
“I was good at economics, but I wasn’t happy,” he recounts in near-perfect English. “So I took a pause, went to Spain to study guitar, returned, and then re-enrolled at the UdG.
“But by then I was too in love with music. I told my parents I wanted to go study at the Conservatorio de las Rosas in Morelia.” The music school, founded in the 1700s, is considered among the best in Mexico. Around this time, de la Mora also developed his language skills, learning Italian from a private tutor.
“I returned from Morelia to an uncertain future,” he said. But then he was accepted into the Coro de Zapopan, where Welch’s direction made a “really noticeable difference.” De la Mora also realized at this time that simply “following instructions” was very important for a musician.
Welch said he quickly picked up on de la Mora’s abilities. “It’s not always that easy to find young singers who are also good,” he pointed out. “Plus, David is energetic and, with his agility in languages, he understands what he’s singing, whether it’s simple stuff like ‘O Sole Mio’ or songs by Bellini, who also composed operas.”
Many songs fitting this description are in Sunday’s program.
“I chose the title for the concert – ‘Canciones del Mundo’ [World Songs] – because I’d like the public to approach art songs from a different perspective,” de la Mora emphasized. “When people hear ‘songs,’ they may think of rock and pop music. And in my church choir, I do sing Christian pop-rock music. But, with the songs I’ve chosen, many by Bellini and others by Ralph Vaughan Williams and Charles Chaplin, people are going to see that songs can be as beautiful as opera.”
Welch said the “fabulous piano and acoustics” at St. Andrew’s make an intimate and ideal setting for the concert, where de la Mora’s voice can be heard well without microphones.