Saint Paul, US, Nov 30 (Prensa Latina) More than 2,000 students from Minnesota, in the United States, enjoyed Cuban and Latin American music on Friday as part of the Afro-Latin Renaissance program led by the pianist Ignacio ”Nachito” Herrera.
At the Ordway Theater in Saint Paul, the state capital, students from Hambrick Homeschool, Austin High School, Franklin Middle School, Royal Oaks Elementary, Saint Louis Park High School and Fair School, among others, highly acclaimed the artists.
The children and teenagers were impressed by the musicians who, led by Herrera, a Cuban resident in the US, performed pieces such as the one that gives name to the cultural program, which will conclude on Saturday with a great show on the same stage.
As part of the Afro-Latin Renaissance program, besides the great Saturday gala, two daily educational presentations were held on Thursday and Friday, which were attended by more than 6,000 students and teachers.
The enthusiastic audience on those two days enjoyed cha cha cha, son, jazz and Afro-Cuban rhythms, as well as Colombian cumbia, among other genres, played by Raul Pineda on the drums, Edgar Martinez and Carlos Caro on the Cuban percussion, Leider Chapotin on the trumpet and Hammadi Bayard on the saxophone.
Themes like Afro 6-8, composed by Herrera; a cha cha cha potpourri composed of well-known songs like El Bodeguero (‘The Winemaker’) and La Engañadora (‘The Deceiver’); and one of the most international Cuban works, La Guantanamera, were received with standing ovations.
This school-based initiative, according to show producer Aurora Herrera, is part of the community’s Roots and Dreams program, driven by institutions such as the Ordway Theater, the Saint Paul Mayor’s Office, the Minnesota Cuba Committee, Herrera Gonzalez LLC, the Minnesota Twins baseball team and the state government.
Part of our mission is to bring children to see artists who can inspire them and who can reflect their identity on stage, because we have so much diversity in our schools,’ Shelley Quiala, vice president of the Community Program for the Ordway Family and Schools, told Prensa Latina.
Many children are studying music, but these programs are unfinished, and here you can see what a formal Latin jazz orchestra is and a musician like Nachito, with his ability to cross genres, something they cannot experience in their own schools,’ she said.