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 it 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 that all work together to enhance and influence its rich culture. The cities of San Juan and Ponce are sure to mesmerize you with their valued and respected traditions of rhythm, dance, and song.
Enjoy a concert tour of Puerto Rico, and let yourself be immersed in all that San Juan and Ponce have to offer as you share your music with local people.
Welcome to San Juan!
Enjoy an introduction to Puerto Rico with a guided walking tour of Old San Juan. See Old San Juan’s famous blue cobblestone streets and whimsical, colorful buildings, and admire the historic fortifications, churches, and homes from the colonial era that have earned this area a National Heritage Site title.
Visit El Morro, the 16th century citadel once used to guard the entrance to San Juan Bay.
Check in to your hotel 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 the week ahead.
Begin your first full day in Puerto Rico with a morning friendship concert alongside a local ensemble.
This afternoon, embark on a guided tour of El Yunque National Forest, over 25,000 acres of rainforest located in the Luquillo Mountains.
An evening guided Bioluminescent Bay kayaking excursion can be arranged. Paddle your way through the mangroves to Laguna Grande, where you will find 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, best known as La Perla del Sur, or “The Pearl of the South.”
Arrive in Ponce and participate in an afternoon workshop on Puerto Rican music and rhythms with a local musician such as composer and conductor Professor Ruben Cólon-Tarrats or percussionist Freddie Santiago Campos.
Check in to your hotel and enjoy time to unwind by the hotel pool.
Perform an evening friendship concert alongside a local host ensemble. After the concert, share dinner with your new friends.
Perform for the morning worship service at a local church in Ponce.
This afternoon, head to La Guancha, a boardwalk with scenic Caribbean views and an observation tower overlooking a charming marina.
Tonight, a festive farewell dinner of traditional Puerto Rican cuisine is served to your ensemble.
Salsa dance lessons can be arranged for your ensemble this evening as a jubilant finale to your tour of Puerto Rico.
Return home with wonderful memories of your concert tour.
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
Our 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' experience 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 chance to hear their host choir's repertoire (often showcasing local musical styles) and to share your own repertoire in turn. Fellowship time usually follows 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.