In the News
Coro Latinoamericano sings a south-of-the-border Christmas
Friday, December 20, 2002
by Mark Kanny – Tribune Review Classical Music Critic
The sounds of Christmas with a Latin beat will fill the auditorium of the Frick Fine Arts Building in Oakland on Saturday. Coro Latinoamericano's annual holiday concert, "Feliz Navidad, Pittsburgh" brings the rhythms, sounds and intonations of countries south of the border to Pittsburgh.
Music director Sharon Rotuna, who hails from Ambridge and whose ethnic heritage is German, Polish and Italian, says the Latin Christmas music features "very infectious rhythms. They are very inspiring pieces: The lively ones are very rejoicing, and the slower ones are soothing and peaceful." Carols from Colombia, "Vamos Pastoritos" (Hurry Shepherds), and Chile, "Vamos a Belén" (Hurry to Bethlehem), are "traditional upbeat carols that kind of dance," Rotuna says. Latin percussion accompaniment will include maracas, congas and güiros.
The concert will be augmented this year by the first presentation of its Corola Awards for contributions to "cultural enrichment and well-being of the western Pennsylvania community."
Chorus president Ernesto Contenti says, "We feel, as a cultural organization, it would be a good initiative to recognize the lavor and everything these people have done for our culture and the community at-large."Coro Latinoamericano was formed five years ago, in part for the pleasure of singing music of Latin heritage and also to promote understanding throughout the Western hemisphere. Most of its members were born in North, Central and South America and the Caribbean. Together, they perform at concerts, ethnic festival and educational forums.
Contenti works in marketing in Pittsburgh as a product developer. But in his native Argentina, the tenor was a member of The Islanders, whose six musicians doubled as singers and instrumentalists and recorded for RCA Victor and appeared on television. Although initially reluctant to join the chorus because of the time it should require, he says he's happy he made the commitment.
The Corola honorees were chosen by the chorus's executive committee. They are:
Alan Boal. Born in Freedom, PA., of Spanish heritage, he was a news broadcaster and commentator on Pittsburgh radio and television stations for 50 years. He will serve as emcee for "Feliz Navidad, Pittsburgh."
María de los Ángeles. Born and raised in Mexico City, she taught Spanish for 30 years at what is now Seton Hill University, Greensburgh, and also for one year at the University of Nanjing, China.
Joen Vásquez. Born in Caracas, Venezuela, he is assistant principal violist of the Pittsburgh's & Music Society Passamaneck Award.