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Congas: the Heart of Latin Music ~ basic techniques, communication, and demonstration

Monday, 4 October, 2021
12:00 PM - 2:00 PM

A Latin music master class is being offered in-person and virtually on Monday, October 4, 2021 from 12 noon to 2pm.

Come celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month as master percussionist Renato Thoms teaches and demonstrates

Congas: the Heart of Latin Music
~ basic techniques - communication ~
+ demonstration +

The master class will complement the curriculum of the music classes and enhance the knowledge of Latin American culture for students and the community. 

Renato Thoms will discuss percussion and specifically congas and how they are a means of communication. During the session, Thoms will explain the method and the touch of the hand percussion-Latin percussionist as well as its function within the rhythm section and ensemble setting.

However, the highlight of the master class will be his superb playing of the congas. 

Latin Jazz fans have seen and heard him play live and through many recordings with Rubén Blades, Eddie Palmieri, Danilo Pérez, Conrad Herwig, Ray Vega, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Paquito D'Rivera, Victor Mendoza, Antonio Hart, Pete "El Conde" Rodriguez, Dave Valentin, Arturo Sandoval, among other greats. He plays with numerous Latin bands and has come to SUNY Orange several times with La Familia Sextet, a Latin Jazz band led by Willie Martinez of Brooklyn.

Born and raised in Panama, Renato Thoms studied classical music at the Conservatory of the National University of Heredia, Costa Rica. He then came to the United States and got a BM in Music Performance from Berklee College of Music where he also received the Professional Performance Division Latin Percussion Award for Outstanding Musical Ability in the Area of Latin Percussion Performance. He furthered his education by obtaining an MM in Jazz Studies with an Emphasis in Performance from the Boston Conservatory. He was awarded Who's Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges and was a finalist in the 2000 Thelonius Monk Hand Drum Competition. In addition to the Latin and jazz idioms, Renato is proficient in playing a variety of percussion styles including classical, pop, and R&B.

As an educator, Thoms is an adjunct professor at Hudson County Community College, Jersey City, NJ and a lecturer of Latin American percussion at Carnegie Hall Educational. He conducts and directs the after-school Afro-Caribbean percussion programs at Wingspan Arts, NYC.

Monday’s class will have two sessions, from 12 noon to 12:50pm and 1pm to 1:50pm. You are welcome to come to either or both, while observing social distancing and masking. Protocols require limited seating. In-person/on-campus attendance is exclusively for registered, credit students and the on-campus college community.

Virtual attendance offers unlimited seating. The zoom link is https://sunyorange.zoom.us/j/93628627327

The program is presented by Cultural Affairs in cooperation with the Committee for Institutional Diversity and Equity. Questions may be directed to cultural@sunyorange.edu

Congas: the Heart of Latin Music ~ basic techniques, communication, and demonstration


Dorothy Szefc

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24 Grandview Avenue
Orange Hall, SUNY Orange
Middletown, NY 10940

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