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Church walls are alive with the sound of music



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New Gilford Community Church music director Carlos Martinez, (shown conducting the adult choir last Thursday) has only worked at the church since March, but he has already brought several new elements to the program. Lauren Tiner. (click for larger version)
October 13, 2010
Carlos Martinez may be a new face at Gilford Community Church, but he has already put his own touch on the music program as music and choral director.

Martinez has worked as a teacher for 14 years and as a choral director for over 19 years. He has lived in New England for the past 19 years, currently lives in Concord, and owns a house in Alton, which ultimately brought him to the job in Gilford.

Some locals in the area may already be familiar with Martinez through the music camp he provided in the summer for children at the church, or as the current music teacher at Shaker Regional School District, or the director of the Center Harbor Town Band.

Martinez officially became the new church music director in late April and said he almost came upon the opening by fate when his wife had an interview set up for the same job, and decided to pass on the offer to her husband instead.

Martinez went into the interview last minute with excitement and was thrilled when he was offered the job.

He was the choral director in Wolfeboro five years ago, and he said Gilford Community Church is unlike any other church he has ever worked at.

"This church is different and has a great energy. The facility is great and the acoustics are wonderful," said Martinez.

This past summer Martinez worked with a children's choir at GCC under the company he runs with his wife, "Just Love to Sing!"

"We had three new camps and they were all filled up," said Martinez.

Martinez said he believes that a child's exposure to music is important.

"You'd be surprised when kids are exposed to this type of art form. At one point, one kid will say they love singing, and another will say they love dancing. There is something in it for everyone," said Martinez. "Some kids fall in love with it. It's good to expose them to as much as you can."

He said he also likes to introduce children to as many instruments as he can "to hook them in" and to encourage students to sing, even if they don't think they have a good voice.

Martinez was not always interested in singing until an inspiring high school choir director pulled him out of band and stuck him in choir.

"From that point on I sang," said Martinez, who went on to be a vocalist in college. "That's how I started singing, through her encouragement."

Years later he bumped into this same teacher while performing in the opera and knew she must have been happy to see him go so far in life with his singing career.

"I have sung most of my life, but I enjoy conducting and being in front of a choir," said Martinez, just prior to church choir rehearsal Thursday evening.

He runs the 18-to-24 member choir every Sunday, but also plans to hold some community events with the choir throughout the holiday season this year.

It seems as though the love of music never left the family, considering Martinez's wife Jane Cormier is also an opera singer, and their children have followed in their lead.

His 10-year-old son Chris also helps out during choir practice, sings, plays the flute, and is an aspiring guitar player as well.

Martinez's daughter, Catherine, is currently attending Plymouth State University as a vocal student.

"We didn't want to force them because our lives are filled with music, but after attending so many shows and rehearsals, they said they wanted to join us and took their own initiative," said Martinez.

Martinez earned his BA at the University of Texas at San Antonio, where he hails from, and underwent graduate studies at the University of Houston.

He has performed as a bass vocal soloist throughout the U.S. and abroad with the Houston Grand Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, and San Antonio Opera Theatre Company. He has also worked as music director for "OperaFest!" of New Hampshire and Lakes Region Opera Companies.

While he is a teacher during the day, Martinez runs a private vocal and piano studio in Manchester after school and is the producer of local cable television show, "Mr. M's Wonderful World of Music," a children's educational music program.

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