Classmates in multiple levels of Spanish along with a handful of other curious students gathered together in the collaboration center on October 7th, 2016, for a once-in-a-lifetime performance. The leader of a band from the Dominican Republic, Joan Soriano, joined Avonworth for a small yet incredible concert with the rest of his band members.
Seniora introduced them to the room, asking her class and others who joined to give them “a warm welcome,” before they all introduced themselves to the audience. They played many of their songs, stopping in between for the Spanish students to ask questions in Espanol.
Although they had very little knowledge of the English language, a translator would translate a few of their phrases in order for those who don’t take Spanish to understand what was going on. “I’ve been playing the guitar since I was 8,” the translator said to us after Joan was asked how long he had been playing. “I’ve played professionally since I was 12.”
The performance at Avonworth was added as part of their later performance at the CLO Cabaret in downtown Pittsburgh. This by far isn’t their first gig in the States, either. “We’ve been to different parts of South America, United States, Europe and Canada,” Joan said. The translator told the room of their deal, where each member of Joan’s band is eligible to work for another band and take their own individual project. The translator described it as “a very interesting trade.”
Each instrument was unique in this performance of Bachata music, and even one of the band members had created his own drum. The instruments themselves were crazy, for Carlitos, who played the Guiro, described the crowd how to play it, what it was made of, and even allowed students to try it for themselves.
The show continued and so did the music, the final song bringing out Mr. Shirey and others to come and salsa up in the front of the class. Students who didn’t know how to salsa took to the floor with their own moves. The song died down and as did the dancing as students littered back to their classrooms. “I love the support people here always give me,” Joan told the audience.