Senior Jecoa Ross plays the oud along with other students during Layali Al-Sham’s rehearsal. (Paul Reynoso/

Arab music ensemble brings the Middle East to the border

EL PASO – On Friday afternoons in the practice room of the Fox Fine Arts building, a group of students rehearses for Layali Al-Sham, UTEP’s Arabic music ensemble. The ensemble primarily consists of UTEP students that sing and play Arabic music. The instrumentation of Layali Al-Sham includes a wide variety of Western Classical and Arab musical instruments such as the clarinet, electric guitar and the Egyptian flute called the ney. Dr. Andrea Shaheen, assistant professor of ethnomusicology at UTEP and director of the school’s World Music Ensembles, said that the formation of the Arabic music ensemble began in 2010. “It sort of fell into my lap in that there was this core group of three or four students that were really driven to learn,” Shaheen said.

Arroyos like the one at UTEP are home to a wide variety of vegetation and wildlife such as the Yucca plants and skunks. (Paul Reynoso/

UTEP arroyo to benefit from campus transformation project

EL PASO — Major changes are well under way at the University of Texas El Paso as the campus two-year pedestrian and environmental friendly transformation project takes shape. The landscape of the campus features an arroyo that runs primarily from the northeast side of campus near Miner Village down to the southwestern side by the Business Administration Building. This arroyo will be one of the focus points of change during the project. The project falls under UTEP’s master plan to dramatically improve the campus for the UTEP community and the students. There are seven segments of the transformation project such as pedestrian friendly pathways and additional green spaces.

The total cost of demolition, construction, and relocation of City Hall is expected to between 85 and 100 million dollars. (Paul Reynoso/

The demolition of City Hall and the rise of a new ballpark are already giving downtown El Paso a new identity

EL PASO – In the coming months, downtown El Paso’s skyline will change dramatically as the City Hall building is expected to be demolished to make way for a new Triple-A ballpark that will open next year. But once demolition commences on City Hall and construction of the ballpark begins, the effects will be felt by downtown local businesses and streets that are adjacent to the City Hall area. The Insights Museum on N. Santa Fe St. is just one of many businesses that has already been greatly affected by the major changes. The museum, which first opened in 1980, has cleared out and has been closed for several weeks now.