The View from Puerto Rico
|Luis Santiago '03|
Hola, from the Island of Enchantment, Puerto Rico. I am the newly appointed alumni chapter leader for the area, and it's a pleasure to present to you our first column. I'll begin with a bit about my background. My career in music has taken several forms. I serve as the commander and conductor of the 248th Army Band of the Puerto Rico National Guard. I also work as a percussionist for musical theater and choral groups as well as Latin jazz bands. I am involved in music education and do presentations with my wife, Nadine, who is a modern dance choreographer.
To get chapter events started in Puerto Rico, we celebrated our first Berklee alumni gathering at the School for the Performing Arts in Guaynabo. The aim of the event was to get alumni together and to reestablish the connection between them and Berklee. We were fortunate to have on hand for the occasion Berklee Director of Alumni Affairs Karen Bell and Associate Vice President for Education Outreach Curtis Warner. It was an opportunity for members of our chapter to network and to learn about benefits available to them as alumni and about the Berklee City Music Program. Also, the alumni were treated to a wonderful performance by current Berklee student Emily Elbert who gave everyone a sample of the current talent at the college.
Our alumni in Puerto Rico are busy working on wide range of projects. Miguel Acevedo '06 and Robert Rosario '03 are working on Puerto del Mundo Music, an online educational resource available at www.puertodelmundomusic.com. The CD Finding My Path by bassist Aldemar Valentin '03 was made in collaboration with Raul Romero '91, who served as the album's producer and guitarist. At most music schools in Puerto Rico, the field of music business has not been a strong point of the curriculum. But through the contributions of Jorge Flynn '95, that situation has begun to change. He is the executive director of the Entrepreneurship Center for Musicians (CEMCA) at the Puerto Rico Conservatory of Music. CEMCA is the first institution in Puerto Rico to focus on business education that is oriented toward music and the arts for musicians and professional artists. CEMCA is an initiative of the Puerto Rico Conservatory of Music that receives financial support from the Culturarte of Puerto Rico. For more information, visit http://cemca.cmpr.edu.
The band Millo Torres y El Tercer Planeta are part of La Ruta del Sabor, an event sponsored by Heineken in Puerto Rico, which offers a tremendous opportunity for a group to tour the island with some of Puerto Rico's best-known bands. That's all for now from the Berklee Puerto Rico Alumni Chapter.
Luis Santiago '03
Berklee Alumni Chapter Leader