Olivia Michel Vargas de Del Valle
Olivia Michel Vargas Del Valle, a singer, conductor, and assisting administrator in the music department at the University of Montemorelos, teaches music philosophy and church music administration and leadership classes. She assists Norka Castillo, music director, with some of her responsibilities, overseeing the scheduling of lessons for 300 students in the conservatory (preparatory) program, coordinating teacher schedules, and arranging for weekly master classes or recitals in the conservatory.
Olivia was born and raised in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico, one of four children born to Ramon Michel and Guadalupe Vargas. Although she sang in the church choir while young and learned some basic chords on the guitar, she had no formal music training until she came to UM. In spite of this limited background, she pursued a music education degree and graduated in 1996.
She started her career teaching piano and conducting children and adult choirs at Central American Adventist University in Alajuela, Costa Rica. She also taught music for four years in the elementary school on that campus. When Olivia returned to UM in 2001, she taught music for three years in the elementary school and gave piano lessons for four years. In her teaching career she has conducted children's choirs for over a decade and handbell choirs for a number of years.
After returning to UM, she completed an M.Mus. in 2004 through an extension program offered by Andrews University, being among the first five to complete the program. While at UM as a student and later, since her return to teach, she has sung in Emanuel, a popular small choral group directed by Laura Ortiz.
Olivia married Jair Del Valle, an engineer in computer sciences, in 1998.
Source: Information provided by Olivia Michael Vargas, 2008.