Ireri E Chávez Bárcenas ’10 M.A.R.
B.A. Universitas de las Américas 2007

BárcenasI arrived to Yale University in the fall of 2007 not really sure about what to expect. With a background in musicology, I came to Yale Divinity School and the Institute of Sacred Music very interested in the Master of Arts in Religion and its new track in Music. It was a completely new experience for me to be studying out of my country; nevertheless, the great hospitality and the wonderful academic environment created by students, faculty, and staff of YDS and the ISM always made it praiseworthy.

Since the beginning I felt privileged to have the opportunity of attending seminars in a diversity of areas, ideas and beliefs. I have learned from both knowledgeable scholars and students who were always characterized by their excellence and commitment. Additionally, I was able to take full advantage of the university, increasing my passion for music research at the School of Music and the departments of Music and History. The libraries and all the university resources gave me the invaluable opportunity to develop research projects, always encouraged and supported by my professors.

Now, I realize that after three years at Yale University my vision about the musicological discipline has significantly expanded. I was certain that musicology demanded a deep knowledge in a diversity of areas, and that my special interest in the music of the New Spain era required a profound reflection of the artistic and cultural diversity of the time, as well as the social and religious surroundings in which it was created. Nevertheless, I had the opportunity to re-think implicit issues about the music as a sacred work, and reappraise it in its liturgical and theological contexts. Now, I am convinced that religious studies are essential to comprehension of the nature of sacred music, and YDS/ISM is the ideal place where the boundaries between the theological and musical scholarship disappear in a challenging academic environment.
Being a Yale student has changed my life completely. I met my husband when I was starting my program almost three years ago, got married the following summer, and graduated with my husband in May.  Now we are going to be the parents of two boys!  Next fall I am going to start a Ph.D. in Musicology at Princeton. I can gladly say that after my YDS/ISM experience I feel confident, well trained, and focused. I truly believe that raising a family is a blessing that will enrich my academic formation and love for music.

I will always keep a special place in my heart for YDS/ISM and Yale University.  Thank you for giving me this great opportunity!