Eastern to Host Community Night with ‘Puentes al Futuro’

Members of the Willimantic community are invited to Eastern Connecticut State University on March 27 for a celebration of Afro-Caribbean music and dance led by local middle schoolers who participate in the “Puentes al Futuro/Bridges to the Future” program. The free event will begin with light refreshments at 5 p.m. in the Fine Arts Instructional Center, with the main event beginning at 5:30 p.m. in the Concert Hall.

Puentes al Futuro is an afterschool program for Windham Middle School students coordinated by Eastern’s Center for Community Engagement. The March 27 showcase will include the sounds of Afro-Caribbean jazz by well-known local teacher and musician Arnaldo Rivera and his band Bentetu. Rivera, who teaches percussion in the Puentes al Futuro program, will also perform with his young students who have learned Caribbean percussion rhythms.

The program will also include dancers from Puentes al Futuro. The colorful costumes and the fast-paced African, Salsa and Bomba dances will inspire audiences to get up and dance. The young students will be accompanied by instructors Tayla Bogle and Jackie Varian, Eastern students and Yusomil Bonet, a long-time teacher and choreographer with the Puentes program and Windham Middle School.

Written by Michael Rouleau