(All programs are approximately 45 minutes in duration)

Stories and Songs of Latin America (Grades K-6 with modifications for older and language students, 7-9) An interactive program which uses music, storytelling, puppetry and instruments to bring the culture of Latin America to life and further a better understanding of the people and their customs. Performed mostly in English in his own bilingual style, Felix Pitre takes the audience on a journey filled with laughter and learning. They may hear the story of Puerto Rico's folk hero, Juan Bobo or find the Jíbaro's lessons in an alternate story, Paco and the Witch. After learning the origins of La Bamba they join in singing the chorus and later perform a tri-lingual song (Spanish, English and sign language,) Pollito-Chicken. And then there is Coquí, the lovable frog puppet who steals the show (and sometimes a kiss) while helping us to understand and appreciate people who speak with different accents. In the finale audience members play Latin American percussion instruments as everyone joins in the Cuban favorite, Guantanamera.

Animal Tales (Grades K-4) A program of lively stories and memorable songs, it teaches respect for creatures large and small as well as lessons about ourselves. Coyote Rings the Wrong Bell (Mexico,) presents animals in the conflict for survival. How the Beetle Got Its Coat (Brazil,) focuses on human emotions and The Boy who was Kind to the Birds and the Animals (Peru,) a magical fable of kindness and reward, is performed with the help of audience volunteers. The program teaches the importance of caring for our environment. It engenders respect for the animals in our lives and their right to exist while encouraging further study through reading, writing and performing. The program opens with Froggie Went a Courtin' and closes with a medley of traditional animal songs including Alouette, The Lion Sleeps Tonight, How Much is that Doggie in the Window and You Ain't Nothin' but a Hound Dog.

The Discovery of the New World - More to the Story (Grades K-6) A journey of discovery, both personal and historical, that challenges the audience to reexamine accepted beliefs and teachings about The Discovery, Puerto Rico and The Caribbean. Using an original song (More to the Story) we are invited to travel back in time and search for the truth in history. Audience members are picked to help navigate a caravel (a small ship of its day) as it makes the perilous voyage across the Atlantic. Next they learn about the beliefs of the Tainos, the natives mistaken for "Indians" by Columbus, in the story of how their world was created. We then meet the Coquí, a small toad indigenous to the island who has an irreverently humorous attitude towards the explorers and finally conclude with another original tune (They Made Salsa) which is accompanied by audience members and salsa music to celebrate the heritage (European, African and Taino) of the Caribbean people. Students are encouraged to learn history not only from their textbooks but also in discussions with their parents, teachers and peers.

Mexican Legends and Songs (Grades K-6) The history, culture and language of Mexico experienced through accounts of historical/legendary figures, folktales and folk music. We hear of Cortes, the Spanish Conquistador, La Malinche, his faithful translator and Montezuma, the leader of the ill fated Aztecs. All the songs are traditional favorites, Cielito Lindo, Cu cu ru cu cu Paloma, and La Cucaracha a tribute to the Mexican folk hero, Pancho Villa. And though sung in Spanish, they are thoroughly explained so the audience can fully appreciate their meaning while enjoying the beauty of the language and rhythm. There is also a Mexican folktale, Pepe and the Figs, about a poor farm boy who refuses to help his parents at home and learns a valuable lesson when he leaves to find his fortune in el pueblo (the town.) The students play "maracas" in the form of fruits and vegetables as they help bring the program to its rousing conclusion.

 

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