‘Love’ creates a spectacular show

Ivy Steege, Journalist

It’s not often that a person going to view an award-winning flutist can say that they also saw a bassist, singer, and pianist perform on the same night. Especially when it’s the same person who is holding all of those titles. This past Thursday, EMMY® and Latin GRAMMY® Award Winner, Dr. José Valentino Ruiz showed us that this is possible. 

Valentino took the stage at the University of Wisconsin – Whitewater’s Light Recital Hall on Sept. 15.

A hoard of audience members dance on stage while José Valentino Ruiz as the artist wraps up the final song for the evening. (Ivy Steege)

With musical influences from Africa, Brazil, Spain, and more; Valentino captivated his audience with the idea that “love conquers all.” 

“I can’t control how people feel about the message or how they respond to it. All I can do is plant that seed and hope that they will water it, really. I think they were receptive to it. I think it’s important for us to continue being conscious about the importance of how love conquers all,”  said Valentino.

Of each of the 11 songs from the night’s performance, Valentino composed seven; some of which he accompanied himself through pre-recorded tracks of percussion and more woodwind melodies. “Brazilian Fusion” was a fan favorite of the night, which not only showcased Valentino’s skill on the flute, but also his percussive ability both through an instrument and vocally.

“I come prepared with an entire repertoire, but I think it’s important to get to know the interests and the heart of the cultural setting… The University of Wisconsin – Whitewater flute studio and Dr. Ballatori were so kind and warm to me, that I felt more relaxed than I’ve ever been in my performances.” 

This relaxation became the source of one of the most heartwarming moments of the evening, Valentino accompanying Enrique Chambers, a UWW Alumni from the December Class of 2021. Chambers states the duo met unexpectedly when he joined Valentino and a group of students at Whitewater restaurant, Cozumel, the Wednesday before the performance. It was there that Valentino suggested the impromptu duo. 

“It was honestly very invigorating,” said Chambers. “I think that’s what {Valentino} was preaching a lot about: to let go of the fear that the world stops you from doing the things you want to do.”

The show ended with the guest artist inviting all audience members to come on stage and dance with him. Various spectators left the auditorium with tears in their eyes and smiles on their faces. Leaving, it was obvious that every student who interacted with Valentino made a lasting memory. 

“I mean what else can you say? He played the flute. He played the bass, piano, sang, beatboxed. I have never been to a concert like this at UW-Whitewater, and I don’t think I ever will again,” said Arts & Communication Junior Katie Aldred. 

Valentino was an electric first live performance in the Center of the Arts this year. The charisma he flooded from the stage, will be a talking point for Whitewater’s music department for years. Though, students may not have to miss him for long. Valentino’s last comment of the night was simply, “I hope to be invited back.”

After a last minute decision, UWW Alumni Enrique Chambers performs a duet with Guest Performer, José Valentino Ruiz. The duo received a standing ovation from the audience after they finished their first song. (Ivy Steege)