Welcome. We are students in Communications 218, a journalism class at Lehman College. Our classroom is in Room 122. This course is part of the Summer Arts Festival of College Now, a program designed to help high school students earn college credits. Every day, we report and write articles about our program, the school and the neighborhood.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

La Música Es Su Vida


By: Shahida Arabi, Mehadi Hassan, Deidre Thompson

Music pervades Armando Rodríguez's life. An adjunct professor in the department of music at Lehman College, a cornet and trumpet player, and a co-director of the Lehman College Latin Jazz Band, 55 year-old Rodríguez spends his days orchestrating a diverse group of people, all united by their shared love of Latin music.

As co-director, Rodríguez is one of the very few Latinos who are involved in Latin Jazz Band. This band began in 2003, and currently has about 22 members. Ironically, the Latin Band’s membership has what Rodríguez called “a minority of Latinos.” While there are three Latin in the band, there are also musicians who hail from Japan, France, and Canada. Teachers and students alike from Lehman College constitute a majority of the band, allowing for diversity of age as well as ethnicity.

The Latin Jazz Band has not only brought people together, it has enriched Rodríguez's life by allowing him to share his gift with the community. Writing music for the band has been a creative outlet for Rodríguez, who is passionate about the impact Latin music has had on mainstream culture, an effect he calls “international.”

So what makes these people interested in music that is not “their own? Rodríguez says the Latin Jazz Band gives people of different backgrounds and experiences a "way of expressing [themselves] and being creative" in a college setting.

"Just because it's a Latino band doesn't mean you have to be Latino to be in it," as Rodríguez said.

For more information on the Latin Jazz Band at Lehman College, visit: http://lclatinjazzband.blogspot.com

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