Leeds students stage concert
by Natasha Hickman
on: Sunday, 4 July 2004
In May this year students at the Leeds College of Music, studying under Cuban maestro, Omar Puente, were inspired to put together their own latin music night to raise money for the Music Fund for Cuba.
They had already formed two big bands playing latin music under the direction of Omar, so decided to give a special performance. When asking for support they found enthusiasm – the local HiFi Club gave the venue for free, Havana Club rum donated some rum for cocktails, a local Latin DJ gave his services for free, TUMI records donated some latin CDs for raffle prizes and another local venue Viva Cuba gave a voucher for a night out as the top prize.
The local Love Music Hate Racism campaign gave positive encouragement as the event came just prior to local elections troubled by racism. The night was great fun for all and raised over £600 for the Music Fund. For many of the students it was the first such event they had been involved in and organised, down to distributing the flyers around Leeds, and said they enjoyed it so much they have plans to repeat it next year as well as perform for a local primary school to raise more money for the Music Fund.
One of the students, voicing the feelings of many, said they feel they owe a debt to music education in Cuba as without it they would not have learnt all they have from their teacher Omar, a product of Cuban music education.