Welcome to Puerto Rico
Surround yourself in the vibrant sounds of Puerto Rico, where a rich musical heritage is celebrated year-round in the vibrant cities of San Juan and Ponce. The music of Puerto Rico is the island’s most notable export, and is by far the most popular Caribbean music heard in the United States. It combines innovative instruments and unique sounds to create a rich panoply of music deeply rooted in the island’s Spanish, African and Taíno traditions. Salsa is undoubtedly the most prominent and influential type of music of Puerto Rico. Drawing heavily from the musical roots of the Cuban and African-Caribbean experience, salsa has made Puerto Rico famous in the world of international music.
Come to Puerto Rico and experience its delightful vocals, indigenous sounds, and vast array of instruments. The residents of San Juan and Ponce are eager to have you visit and share in their valued and respected traditions of rhythm, dance, and song.
Welcome to San Juan!
Enjoy an introduction to Puerto Rico and its picturesque capital on a guided walk in Old San Juan. Admire Old San Juan’s quaint cobblestoned streets, colorful buildings, historic fortifications, churches, and homes from the colonial era. The entire area is a designated National Heritage Site.
Explore El Morro, the 16th century citadel once used to guard the entrance to San Juan Bay.
Check in to your hotel in San Juan and take time to relax and refresh. Rehearsal can be arranged this afternoon.
Tonight, a welcome dinner of local specialties is served as your tour manager previews exciting days ahead.
Your first full day in Puerto Rico kicks off with a friendship concert alongside a local ensemble. The concert may be at a school, church, cultural or community center selected by your friendly musical hosts.
Later, enjoy a guided excursion to El Yunque National Forest, over 25,000 acres of rainforest located in the Luquillo Mountains.
An evening activity kayaking in the fascinating Bioluminescent Bay can be arranged. Take a group paddling journey through a natural habitat of mangroves to discover microscopic plankton that produce light at the touch of your hand.
Enjoy a morning at the beach. Soak up the sun and splash in the balmy waters at one of San Juan’s beautiful beaches.
Check out of your hotel and depart for Ponce, the second largest city in Puerto Rico, known as La Perla del Sur, or “The Pearl of the South.”
Participate in an workshop on Puerto Rican music and rhythms led by a talented local musician such as composer and conductor Professor Rubén Cólon-Tarrats or percussionist Freddie Santiago Campos.
Check in to your Ponce hotel and enjoy time to unwind by the pool.
Tonight, meet a choir from Ponce and spend a memorable musical evening performing for each other and enthusiastic local audience. After the concert, share dinner with your new friends.
Today begins with singing for the morning worship service at a church in Ponce followed by fellowship time with the congregation.
Afterwards, head to La Guancha, a boardwalk with scenic Caribbean views and an observation tower overlooking a charming marina.
This evening, a farewell dinner of traditional Puerto Rican cuisine rounds out your stay. Salsa dance lessons can be arranged as a festive finale to your tour of Puerto Rico!
Fly home with wonderful memories of your performance tour in Puerto Rico.
Additional days, destinations, and activities can be added to customize this tour for your group.
Concert Tour Highlights
Founded in 1521, San Juan is one of the largest natural harbors in the Caribbean and the oldest city under the United States flag. San Juan is a major port and tourist resort of the West Indies and the territory’s financial capital. The metropolitan area of San Juan has three distinct areas: Old San Juan; the beach and resort areas; and the outlying communities of which Río Pedras, Hato Rey, and Puerta de Tierra are the most notable. Live music options abound in Old San Juan; this lively district hosts frequent concerts as well as flamenco, salsa, and merengue evenings where visitors can both observe and participate. The warmth and vivacious spirit of San Juan make it the perfect setting for a performance tour.
The second largest city in Puerto Rico, Ponce is known as the “Pearl of the South,” the “City of Lions,” and the “Majestic City” because of its many neoclassical buildings and facades. The center of Ponce dates back to the late 17th century; consisting of glorious plazas, churches, fountains, and highly decorative colonial homes, it is an area worth exploring. Ponce is also a major trading and distribution center and one of the busiest ports in the Caribbean, handling tobacco, coffee, rum, and sugar cane. Ponce's strong sense of community and inclusive, convivial attitude make it an excellent site for friendship concerts and exchange with local people.
FRIENDSHIP CONCERTS IN PUERTO RICO
Friendship concerts are a featured experience on our tours and are at the heart of our mission to foster cultural connections through music. We benefit from a vast international network in the choral world built over our thirty years of helping choirs share their music both in the United States and abroad. Your choir will share a venue and a concert program with a host choir from the region. Your singers will have the opportunity to hear their host choir's repertoire (often showcasing local musical styles) and to share your own repertoire in turn. Fellowship time is planned around the friendship concert, giving both choirs the chance to mingle and enjoy the camaraderie of creating cross-cultural connections through a shared love of music.
PROFESSOR RUBEN COLON-TARRATS
Born in New York City and raised in Ponce, Professor Cólon-Tarrats has authored more than 200 choral arrangements and numerous instrumental compositions. He is highly recognized both in Puerto Rico and abroad. He is the artistic director and conductor of the Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico Concert Choir and the conductor of the Ponce Municipal Band. He is also a founding member of Arts Nova, a chamber group specializing in Renaissance and Baroque vocal music, and he has been the artistic and musical director of the Ponce Polyphonic Chorale for nearly two decades. Professor Cólon-Tarrats has toured all over the world with his choral groups.