By Shannon O’ReillyHumber College’s School of Creative and Performing Arts is set to kick off 2013 with a bang, strum, and pop on Feb. 6 as it hosts a Latin Night.
Setting the stage, two-time Juno Award winner Hilario Duran will perform alongside other Humber faculty, Steve Mancuso and Luis Mario Ochoa.
“Hilario Duran has been a treasure here as have many of our award-winning faculty,” said Joe Kertes, Dean of Humber’s School of Creative and Performing Arts. “It’s the main reason the program is so highly regarded nationally and internationally.”
Duran’s main focus is Cuban and Afro-Cuban music, said Andrew Scott, Head Academic of Humber’s School of Music.
“He leads a wonderful trio when playing under his own name, which features some Humber faculty as well,” said Scott. “When they get together, it is absolutely electric. He is totally virtuosic. The things he can do on a piano are really second to none.”
Kertes also praised the rest of the faculty for attracting top students as a reason for the success of Humber’s music program.
“Star students, or budding stars, come to Humber because they want to play with and take lessons from Pat LaBarbera or Kirk MacDonald or Ted Quinlan or any of our other stellar faculty,” said Kertes. “Hilario and Latin jazz, though, help to illustrate the great diversity and breadth we have in the art of contemporary music.”
Performing and interacting
Associate Dean Steve Bellamy is also quick to point out the importance of having musicians of Hilario’s caliber to perform and interact with the students.
“When developing musicians, listening to great musicians is a critical part of the program,” said Bellamy. “Having someone of Hilario and Luis Mario Ocha’s stature performing is not about making the program well-known. It is about exposing the current students to a master musician who can help them learn and be inspired.”
Also performing are the Latin Jazz Project, the Latin Big Band, and the Hand Drumming Ensemble, composed of Humber students.
“The ensemble of students, anywhere from first to fourth years, are led by a faculty member,” said Scott. “This is part of their curriculum, as is learning the tradition of music.”
Bellamy said this is an important training opportunity for the students.
“This is also an opportunity to expose them to musical meaning and styles from a wide variety of cultures,” said Bellamy. “One of the things we’re most proud of at Humber is the incredible wealth of cultural perspective our students get when studying here. It is reflective of our world and of our music.
Doors will open for the Wednesday event at 8 p.m. and tickets are $5 for students and $10 for general admissions.
“We expect a large turnout from fellow students and Humber community, but also from outside of Humber,” said Scott. “It will be a dynamic night of music. It’s a great way to spend a cold evening. If the weather is a drag why not come in and really be exhilarated by the music?”