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Tito Puente Jr. and Melina Almódovar Perform at Diggs-Latham
September 8, 2023 – Ahead of the beginning of Hispanic Heritage Month, Diggs-Latham Elementary School started off the season with a special guest performance from Tito Puente Jr. and Melina Almódovar.
Son of International Latin Music Hall of Fame Musician Tito Puente, Puente Jr. is a world-renowned percussionist who has performed over 300 shows in the last five years. Almódovar, also known as La Muñeca de la Salsa, is a singer, songwriter, and salsa dancer who has collaborated with Puente for over two decades. The pair will be performing tomorrow at FIESTA 2023 in downtown Winston-Salem, but first, they took time out of their busy schedules to make an appearance at Diggs-Latham.
“This is a once in a lifetime treat that these kids will remember for years to come,” said Luly Beckles, a board member for the Hispanic League.
Puente and Almódovar led students at Diggs-Latham in percussion lessons to help them hone their sense of rhythm. They provided students with instruments to play and even welcomed several of them up on stage. Many of the teachers in the audience were invited to join in when Almódovar started showing off her salsa moves. Puente says that rhythm and music can be appreciated by anyone, but they are especially integral to the foundations of Hispanic music, and he hopes that the students he played with today will appreciate the significance of the arts he and Almódovar passed on to them to Hispanic culture.
“You turn on the radio, and everything that moves you is rhythm-based, and to me, that’s the essence of Hispanic music,” Puente said. “Most Hispanics would agree that our culture thrives on our music. Our food, our entertainment, our heroes in sports and history, all of it comes together to form our culture, but music has got to be in the upper echelon of it.”
Diggs-Latham has an above average population of Hispanic students, as well as an above average population of Title I students. It’s also an arts magnet school where many students are already pursuing futures in music. It’s unlikely that many of these students would ever get to spend this kind of time learning from such widely known and beloved musicians in any other context, but they got the opportunity today, and it was the perfect way to kick off Hispanic Heritage Month.
“To have world renowned musicians performing at a school like ours, where we’re focused on arts but so many of our students wouldn’t have this kind of opportunity otherwise, it’s amazing,” said Diggs-Latham Band Teacher Rick Sigler. “Moments like this are why I became an educator.”
To learn more about music and arts at Diggs-Latham and plenty of other fascinating programs at the district's magnet schools, be sure to check out the Magnet Schools Showcase at the Winston-Salem Fairgrounds from 10 am to 1 pm on Saturday, October 28.
(336) 727-8213 Ext. 70545