Nio and Olivia Ajero

Pianists Nio and Olivia Ajero will present “Harmony for Hope,” a concert to benefit  Music Prep student scholarships, at 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 23, at First Baptist Church, 411 North St.

NACOGDOCHES, Texas – Music enthusiasts will have a special opportunity to hear a performance by two of Nacogdoches’ most beloved young pianists, Nio and Olivia Ajero, when the sibling duo performs a concert to benefit the Music Preparatory Division of Stephen F. Austin State University’ School of Music.
The primary goal of the “Harmony for Hope” concert, scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 23, at First Baptist Church, is to collect funds to be used to offer scholarships to Music Prep students who have demonstrated exceptional dedication and talent in their musical pursuits and who have financial need, according to Alba Madrid, director of the Music Prep program.
“By providing these scholarships, we hope to make the gift of music accessible to all students, regardless of their financial circumstances,” Madrid said. “Contributions to this event will help us make a positive impact in the lives of these students.”
The Ajeros have given annual solo piano recitals since the age of 5, but this will be the first program where they will both be featured as soloists – taking turns playing works by great classical composers – and finishing with a duet arrangement by Sergei Rachmaninoff of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s “Sleeping Beauty Waltz.”
According to Music Prep instructor Linda Parr, a number of Nacogdoches entities and volunteers have worked tirelessly to increase fine arts and cultural opportunities in the area, specifically for children.
“Festivals have been popular downtown, and Nacogdoches Independent School District now presents an annual showcase at Thomas J. Rusk Elementary School,” Parr said. “Many in the community may not be aware of SFA’s Music Preparatory Division and its high quality program, or how the faculty has worked successfully since 1980 with children, young adults and seniors. The areas of piano, strings, choir and Kindermusik have been particularly successful. The purpose of ‘Harmony for Hope’ is to raise awareness as well as raise scholarship funds for those needing financial help.
“By featuring the Ajero siblings in this amazing piano performance program, we hope to reach more of our community,” she said. “Both Nio and Olivia have already been ambassadors of Prep by playing in public festivals, fundraisers and church services.”
Each year, Music Prep awards a total of $6,000 to students to help them continue their private lessons year after year.
“Many of our most gifted students need help to cover the tuition costs of music instruction,” Parr said. “Our students have gone on to become successful musicians or have continued to find satisfaction with accompanying, church or community music involvement. Many are great supporters of the arts.”
Dr. Mario Ajero, professor of piano pedagogy at SFA and Nio and Olivia’s father, said Music Prep has played a “crucial role” in his children’s musical development.
“The special attention and care that Linda Parr has devoted in nurturing their musical growth along with her other piano students has been wonderful and is unique to Music Prep.,” Ajero said. “The opportunities to perform on the same stages – SFA’s Music Recital Hall and Cole Concert Hall – that they grew up watching our music school faculty, college students and guest artists perform on, has inspired them and shown them that performing is something they want to do for the rest of their lives.”
Music has the power to enrich communities in a multitude of ways, Madrid said. “It can bring people together, foster a sense of belonging and shared identity, and provide a means of expression and communication that transcends cultural, linguistic and social barriers.”
The Music Prep Division of the School of Music views itself as “a strong outreach extension of the collegiate experience,” Parr said.
“When a university like SFA can provide high quality instruction and provide live world-class performances, the entire community benefits,” she said.
First Baptist Church is locate at 411 North St. Donations to support Music Prep scholarships will be accepted at the door. For more information about Music Prep, contact Madrid at (936) 468-1291 or or, or visit  Registration forms for summer programs, including detailed schedules and private lesson tuition, can be accessed at