Puerto Rican Relief Efforts on Campus

The Salon to the Theater concert accepted donations for Puerto Rican efforts after Hurricane Maria. Courtesy of Brittany Young

By Brittany Young

During this time of devastation in Puerto Rico due to the effects of Hurricane Maria, the Catholic University community has come together in several ways to do its part in helping those affected by the crisis. The Benjamin T. Rome School of Music did this in the form of a benefit concert. The concert, Salon to the Theater, was part of the Latin American Music Series and was hosted Sunday, October 15th in Ward Recital Hall.

The program included performances by Carlos César Rodriguez, hailing from Venezuela and acclaimed by The Washington Post as a “virtuoso pianist.” Rodriguez holds the title of Guest Artist in Residence of the National Chamber Ensemble based in Arlington, Virginia, but made his way to Catholic for this event supporting a cause close to his heart. Rodriguez performed works by Argentine composer Carlos Gardel, Cuban composer Ernesto Lecuona, and more, showcasing the stylistic beauty of authentically Latin American pieces.

Other performers included soprano Sol Pennance Acevedo, a vocal performance Master’s student here at Catholic and frequently a soloist in her home country of Puerto Rico. She gave a beautiful rendition of Manuel Ponce’s famous “Estrellita,” among other pieces. Baritone Gustavo Ahualli, one of the CUA Rome School’s own vocal faculty, presented a haunting performance of Piazolla’s “Oblivion,” as well as Gardel’s “El Día Que Me Quieras.”

Finally, pianist José Ramos Santo, originally from Puerto Rico and the host each year of the Puerto Rico International Piano Festival (also a piano faculty member at the Rome School!) performed “Ausencia” by Puerto Rican composer Juan Morel Campos. The concert was delightful and surely the donations from all audience members will be greatly appreciated in Puerto Rico!

Other Catholic University students from Puerto Rico took their own route of addressing the cause by hosting a bake sale in the Pryzbyla Center to raise awareness and receive donations, as part of the CUA chapter of “Students With Puerto Rico.” Maria Mercedes del Nido is the representative for the chapter on campus. The group began as a GoFundMe page created by Puerto Rican students at the University of Pennsylvania, where Puerto Rican students from 85 other universities nationwide are now involved. The donations from this page will go directly to Unidos Por Puerto Rico, an initiative created by the office of First Lady Beatriz Isabel Roselló to provide aid to victims. (Link: www.gofundme.com/studentswithpr)

Also to further help Puerto Rico, the proceeds from Catholic’s homecoming dance on October 27th will go to Caritas de Puerto Rico, a catholic charity! To find out more about how you can help, please visit the following link: www.cuacares.cua.edu

CUA students raised money with a bake sale for Puerto Rican relief efforts! Courtesy of Maria del Nido

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