CAMAGÜEY.- The US. Minnesota Youth Symphony Orchestra, led by Manny Laureano, was applauded by the public for the concert given at the Avellaneda Theater, the second of three planned on the tour of Cuba.

The program opened with the interpretation of the national anthems of both countries that composed of affections about two hours of cultural dialogue, between the energies of those who played and the open heart of those who admired virtuosity in each performance.

The repertoire included the tribute to an Afro-Cuban music producer in the symphonic genre with Alejandro García Caturla’s La Tumba (The Tomb) of, Shelley Hanson's Islas y Montañas [Islands and Mountains] (1999); George Gershwin's Concerto for Piano and Orchestra in F Major, with Cuban performer Nachito Herrera as guest soloist, who also played Eduardo Saborti’s Cuba, que linda es Cuba (Cuba, how beautiful is Cuba), ; and Sergei Rachmaninoff's Second Symphony in E Minor, Op. 27.

The impact due to the warm welcome stimulated the incorporation of two movements that were not announced in the program: the second of a symphony of Dmitri Shostakovich, and the third of another piece that highlights the six, popular rural music of Puerto Rico, the homeland of Manny Laureano's parents.

Although the pleasure of the orchestra was obvious, the maestro insisted to the press: "We have found the people of Cuba so warm, with an enthusiasm that we like so well. That enthusiasm of applauding all together says that it is a united people. "

"I think this concert has been the best of the tour. They were very attentive, playing hard, and that's rewarding. They want to play the best they can for you, they want to leave a good impression of a youth orchestra from the United States, Minnesota, right next to Canada, "said Manny Laureano.

For this director, the group has been a space of widening of the pedagogical experience, by the short-term results with the 80 adolescents, between 13 and 18 years old, who have discovered themselves through music, and for whom the music has also been a bridge of discovery of realities different from theirs.

"The concertmaster Archie Brown is 15 years old, and has only been playing for four years; but he has a fondness for music, feels every note, and there are many boys like that. I have seen that they have changed so much. They did not know anything about symphonic music and now they like to find as much information as they can. "

Manny Laureano said that in his territory only one school specializes in fine arts, and the majority of its members comes from a regular education with rigorous programs, but his orchestra has been an incentive for the family in general.

"A few come 75 miles out of Twin Cities, where we rehearse every Saturday. They wake up at five so that their parents can take them. Many of the parents are in the organization - Minnesota Youth Symphonies (MYS) - and they are sweet because they know that I try to teach them a discipline, an important language for their life. This year we have worked with love to come to Cuba. 

Manny, who began his music studies in public schools in New York and was a trumpet player for the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, was shocked at the Avellaneda Theater for the awards given to them by the Provincial Directorate of Culture and the Provincial Music Center.

The exchange of that grouping of Minnesota with the Symphony Orchestra of Holguín, as it did with the one of Villa Clara, and the concert in Dolores Hall, Santiago de Cuba, are other activities of the tour in Cuba.

Translated by Ludys Peguero Domínguez/ 3rd year English Language student

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