Alisa Froman firstname.lastname@example.org
Andrew Wood 415-399-9554, email@example.com
San Francisco September 1, 2011. On September 4th, a planeload of musical instruments will take off from the United States headed for Havana, Cuba as part of an all volunteer project titled Horns to Havana. One of the delegates accompanying the instruments will be Alisa Froman, executive director of Oakland based Cuban cultural exchange organization, PlazaCUBA.
Horns to Havana started when members of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra visited the Cuban capital city last year. They drew large enthusiastic crowds, but it was the youth they encountered in the Cuban music schools, such as the National School of Music (La ENA), who most affected the virtuoso American musicians. The students were talented, bright, eager to learn and play—but without instruments. So, upon their return to the United States, some members of the Orchestra started to work on a plan that would bring jazz instruments and the spirit of jazz to Cuba.
The Bay Area turned out to be a big supporter due to the involvement of PlazaCUBA’s Froman and Melissa Daar of the company’s previous incarnation, Caribbean Music and Dance Programs. The two women, who have close professional ties to La ENA, leveraged their extensive network for the Horns to Havana project and raised almost $10,000 in cash and donated instruments worth many thousands of dollars more.
It was Daar who introduced the late, great Bay Area saxophone player and member of Huey Lewis and the News, Ron Stallings to La ENA students in 1994. Like the Lincoln Center players who would follow 15 years later, Stallings was so taken with the students that he returned to Havana repeatedly to teach at the school. Upon his passing in 2009, friends and colleagues, including Stallings’ former band, Huey Lewis and the News, donated to the campaign in his honor. The instruments will be donated under the name, “The Ron Stallings Memorial Orchestra” and will be commemorated with a plaque at the Cuban music school.
The delegation, including Froman, will make the formal presentation on September 9 in Havana. Stallings partner, Susan Marchionna said of the donation, “Ron would have been extremely proud that the bond between American musicians and the students at this school remains strong. It was something he devoted his life to and was very passionate about.”
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