As the new Coordinator for Community-Based Learning in the Spanish Department at my college, I try to take advantage of the many fantastic opportunities to engage with Hispanic and Latinx culture in Central Pennsylvania available to me.

When I heard about the upcoming CHALACA concert that was advertised in La Voz Lancaster, I was immediately intrigued. During my doctoral studies and throughout my career, I have traveled extensively and studied the literature, culture, and history of Latin America, and am familiar with many forms of music from the region. CHALACA was an incredible experience for me, and I was able to learn something new about this art form that I so admire.

The concert was held at the Trust Performing Arts Center. Right near the Central Market and next door to DipCo, the venue is easily accessible. The staff is friendly, and the overall impression is very welcoming. The concert hall has high ceilings and great acoustics. I would estimate that it could seat around 200 people, but the crowd on Thursday probably numbered around 100 persons. With the trio performing on a stage in the front, only about 12-14 rows in front of the guests sitting in the very back, the concert hall created an intimate space for the event.

The trio, including harpist Bridget Kibbey, clarinetist Benito Meza, and percussionist Samuel Torres, had amazing chemistry. For me, one of the highlights from the program was their performance of João Luiz Rezende’s Jequibau, a unique 5-count samba that was completely new to me. Other things I loved: Bridget and Benito’s version of Argentinean composer Astor Piazzola’s Cafe 1930 and Night Club 1960, and Samuel Torres’ performance on the maracas during Currucha, a fast-paced traditional South American dance song.

The music was incredible, but I have to admit that the best thing about the concert was having the opportunity to meet Bridget, who has incredible fashion sense. We wore the same dress that night, so we had to get a photo together!

Clearly, CHALACA is just my style, and I am eager to hear them perform again. I would especially love for my Spanish students to join me for one of their shows! It was also wonderful to get to know this fantastic venue, and I look forward to attending many more concerts (and lectures) at the Trust Performing Arts Center this season.