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What's Going On . . .

30th Anniversary Celebration at the museum
Friday 15th of March 2024

Our 30 years of Culebra Foundation celebration at the Museum was a wonderful night!  On Friday, March 15, 2024 we celebrated the people that have supported the Fundación de Culebra, as a community non-profit organization since 1994.

The Museum was a full house, Cecilio Reyes gave the toast, with everyone standing. We toasted Juan, Josefina, Fili, Sonia, Filippo, Vincent and all the hands that have made this work possible over all these years. We presented the legendary story of Nick Zinkowski, and we saw his book and the antique diving suits that he used, thanks to a donation that his beloved wife Sue provided for everyone's enjoyment. We recognized our Culebrense Musicians; Gardin, José, Eddie, Noemi, Mario, Jorge, Juan Juan, Chirito and Juni Prieto. We enjoyed the artworks donated by Maestro Antonio Martorell, especially the original work congratulating the Culebra Foundation for the patriotic feat of these 30 years. Our beloved teacher Cecilio Reyes with the coordination of Joanna Pérez introduced the spectacular declamations of negroid poetry by Fortunato Vizcarrondo and Luis Pales Matos. Everyone performed masterfully, Cecilio, Fabian, Yadi, Idalmari and Camila. We closed with a spontaneous Bohemia, all joining in to sing as family.... Thank you, Joanna, Richard, Rachel, Yadi for the food. Thanks to Tony who helped us put together and mount Martorell's works. Thanks to Doug, Tommy, Cuca, Sandra and Elisa. Thanks to Héctor and Sandra from Colmado Milka. And thanks to all who helped and attended. We spent it as a family as we used to do in Culebra...we hope of make these kinds of events a regular occurrence. If Music is the soul of the people, Culebra has a giant soul! There is a solid core of musicians on our island and there is a lot of fine talent.

What's Going On . . .

30th Anniversary Celebration at Música Pa' Culebra
Saturday 16th of March 2024

On Saturday the 16th, we held the 30 Years Celebration honoring our musicians. We did it at the Old School with an extensive program full of surprises. The exhibition of photos taken by photographer Doel Hernández and old photos of musicians is spectacular. You can still go see it at the school.

The event started with a super full house, we had a panel discussion with some of our musicians: José, Gardin, Benjamín, Mario and Noemi about music and the beginning of musical groups in Culebra. This is the kickoff for a project with UPR of Mayagüez, the Oral HistoryLab, which runs until September. We will videotape a series of interviews with Culebrense musicians to document their experiences as musicians in Culebra. We honored Gardin and Benjamín as musicians for their contribution to the history and culture of Culebra. We also posthumously honored our beloved Mañengue, who lived and shared his music for 15 years in Culebra, to whom we all gave a standing ovation. We began the musical activity with our youngest musicians who presented a piece on the tiny steel drums. Then the two youth steel drum bands played like greats, in a spectacular way, directed by Maestro Dahjan Vargas. We were surprised by a visit from the great musician Giovanni Hidalgo who came to greet us and talk to the children about the music. This despite the sadness of having come to collect his father Mañengue’s belongings in Culebra. It was an emotional moment. The surprise of the night was the return of Nueva Sonora Culebrense! It was spectacular, with the musicians; Mario, Rubén, Papo, Toño, Wiki, Rolando, Graciela and Fabian. They brought back memories and made everyone dance and sing....and they made us all happy as only music can do. We closed the night with the masterful presentation of Charlie Sepúlveda and the Turnaround with their tropical jazz. The musical quality of these internationally renowned musicians left everyone amazed. Especially those who are musicians because they recognize this special talent. We are immensely grateful to the CENTRO DE ECONOMIA CREATIVA for sponsoring the event. Also to Yadi, Elisa, Tony, Tommy, Doug, Mario, Fabian, Dajhan, Nathania, Joey, Cecilio, Eneida, Cuca, Joanna, Rosalinda and Nervadiris. Thanks to Sandra and Hector of Colmado Milka, to Caribe Digital of UPR for the design of the history books and materials and to the Oral History Lab UPR Mayagüez. We ended the event exhausted by the effort, but with a heart full of gratitude and emotion. We once dreamed of reviving the Culebrense musical tradition of the Steel Drum and of connecting the older generation of musicians with our youth. This is clearly happening. When we see the excitement and pride of the children as they play steel drums, it gives us immense happiness and fills us with a lot of love. Thank you all for your presence and for your support to continue our projects! Let's continue!

What's Going On . . .

Concert by the International Chamber Orchestra
and the Música Pa’ Culebra Band
Saturday, February 3, 2024

In celebrating our first 30 years we had the honor of sharing the ICO’s 5th year touring Puerto Rico. As in years past, they started this year’s concert tour in Culebra. Our dear Emilio, Cara, Sophia, Steven and Corey are international musicians that have become family.  They give us the most valuable gift; their time and talent.

On Friday, the ICO did a presentation at the Escuela Ecológica. That evening there was a cocktail event at Eng. Joseen Rossy's house with music from the ICO. The next day, the musicians gave a workshop to our MPC children and shared the stage on Saturday with the Música Pa’ Culebra steel drum band. What a musical banquet it was.

 

They performed before an unprecedented audience of around 300 people! It took place at the Old School which was recently painted and full of color, thanks to a generous donation from architect Antonio Álvarez.

 

Our Steel Drum Band students played joyfully, led by their teacher Dajhan Vargas. It was a celebration of our Caribbean culture and heritage. Then we had a masterful performance of the International Chamber Orchestra accompanied by our teacher and symphonic percussionist Fabian Rosa.  It was a magical night in the history of our beloved island.

 

Thanks to everyone who helped make it a reality. Thanks to our special guests Cecilio, Benjamín, Carmen, Azalea, Marinelba, María Amelia, Lulu.  Thanks to Tony, Elisa, Tommy and to parents and family.  Thanks also to H2O’s German and Jackie for giving the musicians a day trip to Culebrita, so they had an opportunity to enjoy the beauty of our island.

 

Producing events like this requires complex logistics, transportation, accommodations, meals.  Thanks to Carlos and Coral of VAL for airfare.  Thanks to the architect Jonathan and Sharon Marvel for food after the concert. Thanks to Fundación AIREKO for handling and transporting the piano. And thanks to Justin, Joey and the many who helped us in various ways.

 

There are many of us who are grateful to you, thank you all for your presence and support.

 

#Fundaciondeculebra Celebrating 30 years!  We continue!

What's Going On . . .

Closing Out 2023
Wednesday, January 23, 2024

This year we celebrate 30 years of the Fundación de Culebra working with the community for the community.

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We had an incredible end to 2023,full of activities, where many important bonds were created and many traditions were revived.Here we present a summary of everything that happened.

We are very grateful for the joyful support from the parents and other members of the community who helped us organize these events. We couldn’t accomplish so much without this support.In addition to forming the New MPC Steel Drum Band, we will be forming a second youth Steel Drum bandas an introduction for the younger kids.We have a new piano teacher, a weekly Bomba Circle with dancing on Wednesdays and we are organizing opportunities for musicians of all ages to play every Friday.

 

To all those who have supported us, in various ways, we want to offer a big THANK YOU.  You are the driving force behind every achievement big or small. This year we will be hosting many activities so stay tuned.

PROJECT: HOUSE OF MUSIC AND RESILIENCE.

We broke ground on this project this past November on a property donated to the Fundacion by Justin Sullivan. It will be a place to comfortably house teachers and facilitators when they come to serve our community.

 

The property will also serve as a resiliency center, providing essential services during community emergencies and it will be a model for teaching energy efficiency.Our first step will be converting a shipping container into a performance/community space.  One of our big goals for 2024 will be a fundraising campaign to pay for renovating the house which needs substantial improvements.

Endless thanks to Justin Sullivan, Mike Gifford, Douglas Lang, Jose Hernandez (Tony) and Ivan Vanchy Porto for their work and love.Thanks as well to the missionaries of the Methodist Church for their help and support.To Abi Carrillo, Ana and her work team.And to German Amaro, Gaby Castro and all those who support us.

The Matutinos, Culebrense Tradition!

This season we began the Matutinos in the spirit of the one who started them, our beloved Cucuito.  On Saturday December 9th, starting at 4 am, the musicians of Culebra loaded up a flatbed and played music through the streets and neighborhoods of Culebra.

The spirit of our steel drum lineage was personified by our beloved and talented teacher Fabian, who came to play a part in the tradition. The Munet family and friends, Mayra, Wiki, Rubén, Kayla, Mario, Mañengue, Jorge and Doug, along with Fabian, played like brothers in music.  The music session was capped with a delicious fish asopao, another of chicken, and arepas at Carolyn's kiosk.  We are grateful to Calixto, Elia and Luzinaris.  And I want to quote Carolyn . . ."traditions have to be worked on. . . and that's why I said yes to asopao."  A thousand thanks to Mikail, Nina and her beautiful daughter who didn't miss a single song.  Also to Michael, Maryann, Zorymar and Miguel. Today our hearts are happy because we worked and enjoyed it with and for our community!

Matutinos Afloat 2023!

Reviving traditions, on Saturday December 17th, we organized a large group to do Los Matutinos as they were done many years ago by our beloved Cucuito: performing Christmas music around the bay on boats.  We loaded a bunch of musicians and their instruments aboard German and Jackie’s new power catamaran. 

At 4 am, 12 illuminated Christmas boats followed us through Ensenada Honda singing and dancing.The beautiful music cheering many and awakening memories for many of matutinos from years past.Now we have young people and children experiencing this tradition for the first time.  Our beloved steel drum player Fabian played masterfully with his magic touch . . .He was joined by Mario, Rubén, Wiki, Papo, Jorge, Dajhan, Mauro and Doug who together played and sangfor more than 3 hours while cruising around the bay.Upon arrival back at the dock, a delicious soup with arepas was waiting for us and many people came to receive and share the joy of a tradition that woke up with a beautiful sunrise.Brian and Diego from the UPR Mayagüez, Oral History Laboratory, documented the experience and told us that they had never seen anything like it.It was a great effort by many and although most were exhausted, all were filled with immense satisfaction.Thank you all, to everyone who was part of this dream come true.Musicians Present! For Culebra Always! The Legacy Continues!

Debut of the New Steel Drum Band
of Música Pa' Culebra

On December 10th, the Culebrense community came out to hear the 14 young people from the New Steel Drum Band of Música Pa Culebra.  It was a spectacular show.  This new band, full of joy, demonstrated their immense talent!  

We are grateful to all the parents and community members who came to support them.  We are grateful to teacher DajhanVargas who worked hard with the kidsto make this achievement possible.We would like to thank teacher Fabian, who came often to polish their technique and help with their musical arrangements.  It took a lot of work behind the scenes, but we have immense satisfaction when we see the proud faces of the kids on stage.  We are also grateful to Tío Mario, Rubén, Wiki, Doug and Jorge for accompanying them. Thank you to everyone who supports us. This achievement belongs to all of you too!

Club Náutico in San Juan
MPC Steel Drum Band with Pirulo and 5 Cats

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On December 13th, The Música Pa’ Culebra Steel Drum Band played a fundraising benefit at Club Nautico in San Juan.  They played spectacularly, displaying both talent and heart.  We appreciate the immense support of so many who helped make this event a reality.

We applaud the young musicians who were responsible for loading and unloading their instruments from the truck.  We also applaudthe great team of parents who supported and organized for the band. Thanks to Dajhan Vargas and José Fabián Rosa Santos, teachers who are helping to revitalize the important music culture of  Culebra. Thanks to Joey Sala for so many years of making this dream come true. Also to Yadi and Doug who are key to this project. Thanks to the great Pirulo and his tribe for supporting our program, donating some instruments and sitting in with the band! Thanks to the 5 Cats, who played a set and invited the kids to sit in with them for a rollicking finale.  It was an exhausting but satisfying event generating much pride! Thank you again to all who have helped make this possible.

End of Semester Concert

August to December 2023

In December, in addition to all the extraordinary activities we had, we had the End of Semester Concert. This concert was a very special one.

We start with our musical seeds, demonstrating their progress and filling us with happiness with their happy faces. To everyone's surprise, the little ones' Drone Band also performed with a Christmas song. Then our participant Yavet, blind, presented 2 songs on the drums, singing and accompanied by other musicians, which was excellent. Then the Young Children's Drone Band got everyone dancing to Magical Calypso.

 

The next part the Fèlix-Munet family and several local musicians took to the stage with Fabián, Dajhan, Doug, Jorge from the Música Pa Culebra team where the energy and dance of everyone in groups dancing and jumping was raised.

 

We closed with an end to the party where the Band of the Steel Drum greats came up and the two generations of musicians got together to play. Wiki and Rubén with his niece Keira, Mario with his granddaughter Anais…. Beautiful. We are reaching one of our goals, to recognize the musical history of our island and strengthen ties and alliances between musicians. Thus achieving Cultural resilience that strengthens us all in the community. Proud to be Caribbean!

HAPPY KINGS' DAY!

On Friday January 5th we celebrated our annual activity, Long Live the Tradition of the Kings!  We had the honor and joy of having the famous group El Mundo de los Muñecos with the play Juan Bobo y el Caldero.

It was a magical afternoon where adults and children had fun and we remembered everything important about Tradition.  Many thanks to Mike Rosado for helping us, Dajhan Vargas, the magic queens Yadi, Sandra and Cuca.  Also to Elisa Sanchez for being the facilitator for Juan Bobo’s trip to Culebra.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2024 wishes to you from Fundación de Culebra and Música Pa Culebra!
May we celebrate children like Eliam who, at 6 years old, is the hope of a musical culture that lives in us and brings joy to our souls! Congratulations!

What's Going On . . .

A Big Step!
Monday, August 7, 2023
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Dajhan Vargas, our percussion teacher, moves to Culebra becoming the first full-time teacher at Música Pa' Culebra.

 

The prestigious organization Centro de Economia Creativa has made this important step possible through its Maniobra program. The established agreement covers a period of one year with the possibility of two additional ones.

 

The musician and teacher Vargas, whose main instruments are the drums and marimba, has responded to the interest of the Culebrenses by teaching himself to play and teach the steel drum band. This summer, with only a month of camp, he prepared 3 groups of different ages and levels that performed impressively at our summer camp concert.  We’re excited about revitalizing steel drum music in Culebra.

 

Let's all welcome Dahjan!

This important step brings us a great challenge: to provide a suitable lodging place.

 

So far, the teachers have stayed at the Fundación de Culebra offices. The situation now forces us to look for suitable alternatives for long-term housing.

 

If you know of any accommodations available, even if only for a few months, please contact us.  We would also consider a recreational vehicle or shipping container already equipped for housing.  In addition, we have a shipping container that we would like to convert into a permanent apartment. Any volunteers that could help us do the conversion would be greatly appreciated.

 

We continue!

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What's Going On . . .

Summer Music Camp Concert
Sunday, July 9, 2023
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After 4 intense weeks full of children and youth hungry to learn, we closed summer camp with a concert on Sunday, July 9.  More than 90 children and young people passed through the camp. Their ages from 5 to 16 years. They had classes in percussion, band, piano, art, dance, PodCast, production, reading, Legos and children's games.  

 

They also had workshops where they were introduced to the violin and the flute.

 

The Theme of the Camp:  We are stronger than the Hurricane!  

For a month they worked to learn how to be strong in an emergency.

 

I said:  What if the Hurricane comes?

Them:  You know what, it's leaving!

Me:  What if the power goes out?

Them:  We have generators!

Me:  What if the power goes out again?

Them:  We have solar panels!

Me:  What if the water goes away?

Them:  We have water cisterns!

Me: And if we can't play with electronics, what do we do?

Them:  We play, sing, dance, paint and play instruments!

All:  We're ready!

 

As part of our camp message, we introduced information about the Culebra resiliency centers (Museo 1905, Oficina 1908 and the Escuela Ecológica) along with information about other resources available on our island of Culebra.

 

We worked with the older kids to have them set an example for the younger ones...their motto:  What are we?  An EXAMPLE! They helped throughout the camp with various tasks. They also recognized that the little ones look at them and want to be like them. So they do set an EXAMPLE! Many kids wanted to stay longer to take advantage of our rooms and instruments. We plan to hire someone to open the classrooms in the afternoons, so they can go practice with supervision.

 

Production and PodCast classes were a hit with the youth. Most had never been exposed to this and they did not want to leave the studio. They learned that they have to prepare and that their voice can be a powerful thing. They designed logos for their groups with a computer graphics program, developed themes and questions and learned to work as a team. It was a first experience with recording and there is a lot of interest in continuing. It is our goal to work toward developing leaders for a better Culebra.  

 

Maestro Dahjan taught the children and young people on the big Steel drums and they were a highlight of the concert. Camila worked up some choreography with each of the groups that was presented beautifully.  All the participants had smiles and proud faces during the presentation.

 

Culebra has some very talented individuals.  This concert was the product of just one month of work. Most of the participants had never played an instrument before. We have great faith that we can grow as a program and help the kids develop many useful skills. This was all possible thanks to a work team full of love and talent: Doug, Dahjan. Judith, Camila, Maribel, Eneida. Luis Alexander, Malena, and our wonderful volunteers: Patricia, Malena 2 and Olivia. Three of our teachers are young people who started camp with us in 2016 and were paid for their work this year.

 

Thanks to everyone who supports us so we can offer this camp. Without you this would not be possible! We would like to thank Carol Wojciechowicz, Philliple Labeau and Rachel for teacher housing. Thanks to Justin Sullivan, Bertil Chappuis and Carmen Muñoz who help us every year. Also John West and Cindy Stiles, Myrna Matos for answering our call for support. María Amelia and Roberto Fortuño for the pizzas to celebrate the closing of the camp and Cynthia Consuegra from Rolls of Heaven for bringing ice cream popsicles for everyone at the celebration activity. Marinelba Rosado and her daughters Malena and Patricia for the art supplies and Carlos Rodríguez of VAL for bringing them to Culebra. We also want to thank Sandra and Héctor de Milka, Ivonne Ayala, Joana Pérez, Jazmín Albert, María and José Bacardi, Pipi and Joanne Reyes, Nacho and María, Nicole Soriano, Yadira Rivera, Richard Cantwell for boxes of water and snacks. Thanks to the School Canteen Program that prepared lunch for everyone using the Ecological School kitchen and delivering it to camp daily. 

Thanks to Jackie and German from H2O Water Taxi for treating the teachers to a trip to Culebrita. Also to Fundación Aireko, Joseen and Tata Rossy for the donation of equipment for the studio.

 

We set precedents in Culebra with such a large enrollment. We are growing in our eighth year with parents talking about wanting it to last longer. All this is possible because of your support. We do not receive government funding. For the concert we had a full house. We’re very proud of the children’s performances.  A good time was had by all.

Thank you to all the parents for the confidence to have your children during this month.

Musicians Present! By Culebra, Always!  We continue!

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What's Going On . . .

Música Pa' Culebra  -  Fundraiser
Saturday, February 25, 2023
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The first segment was a performance by the percussion students of maestro Dahjan Vargas.  He started with the little ones playing the small steel drums and they behaved like pros!  Alexander and Johanis, played the full size steel drums with help from Fabian on “Mi Viejo San Juan”

 

Next there was a performance by the dance group of teacher Adriana Chiqués. This group was accompanied by drummers from the school and players from the Wednesday night Bomba Drum Circle.  The dancing was spectacular.    Then, one of our adult students Yavet, who is blind, played drums to “Con Poder” as well as an interpretation of three drum rhythms. Everyone was impressed with his talent. 

 

Paradise Steel Band with their teacher Fabian Rosa closed the concert playing spectacularly. They started with a piece following a Trinidadian tradition of “coming out” from behind their instruments and presented a new song that got everyone moving!  They were joined for a few songs by two new younger members of the band, Alexander and Johanis.  We are super proud of them.  It was beautiful to see the small children as they watched the big ones playing.  

 

We had a full house. The mothers provided the crowd with an exquisite meal.  Yadi, Paulita, Joanna and Richard also cooked. We had a Chinese raffle run by Sara, with prizes donated by many businesses: Club Seabourne, Heather's Pizza, Moncho's, Harspoons, Rolls of Heaven, Jerry's Jeep, La Cava, Sue Zinkowski and Ivonne Ayala.  After the show, the tables were set and we all ate and shared as a family the achievements of our children and youth. 

 

We are grateful to all who joined us and to those who supported us even if they did not come..... it was a night of community and family...

“Musicians, PRESENT!  For Culebra, ALWAYS!”

 

We continue!

What's Going On . . .

Sunday, February 12, 2023
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Many years celebrating the life of a great musician and human being who is very loved by our community;  Victor Felix "Cucuito".    His daughter Mayra organized a Caribbean gathering where musicians from Culebra, Loíza and Caguas delighted everyone and shared like brothers.  Arcadia, the matron of the musical Munet family at 94 was present and dancing to the announcements!   Our beloved José Fabián Rosa Santos, director of the Fundación de Culebra and Música Pa' Culebra's Paradise steel band, came and played steel drums with band member Graciela Bermudez Albert. We met Frankie de Loíza, Bomba Siré, they have a steel drum band in Loiza. He plays a different style steel drum, which his father designed.  We exchanged information and we’ll see hat the future holds.  The activity lasted until late because the musicians did not want to leave nor the assistants.  There was a delicious meal and we all danced and enjoyed ourselves as one great Culebrense and Caribbean family.

 

Thanks to Mayra La Nena from Loíza and Mayra from Culebra, and to all who cooperated and assisted for this musical celebration. We are also grateful for recognizing the young people of Música Pa' Culebra because the Legacy Continues!   Let's continue!

What's Going On . . .

International Chamber Orchestra visits Culebra
Saturday, February 4, 2023
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Música Pa’ Culebra Children's Workshop

Our young children enjoyed a fun, educational and inspiring concert and activities filled with smiles. The children surprised the musicians with their incredible questions. From which country did they come to which was the first instrument in the world! An experience that will accompany them throughout their lives.

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Community Concert at the old school. Full house!

The small children began, sharing their musical activities with Cara Colón, beautiful! Then we listen to the interpretation of the composers Enrique Granados and Robert Schumann. A delight for all. We close the concert with the Legend... our beloved Puerto Rican composer and singer and heartfelt Culebrense Alberto Carrión. His performance was a beautiful and unforgettable closing to the concert.

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Thank you to everyone who joined us and to those who support us to make this possible. Especially to the talented musicians Corey Cerovsek, violin, Sofia Kim, violin, Nestor Pou, viola, Cara Elise and Emilio Colón, chelo and Steven Vanhauwaert, piano. The logistics of bringing these musicians in is very challenging. Carrying a 400-pound piano that even the pianist helped carry up the stairs, the lodging, etc. There are many to whom we thank for achieving this wonderful experience for our community and visitors. Grateful to all the musicians for bringing their wonderful music to our island. It was an experience for history.

 

We continue!

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