Sept. 23, 2004 The Reichhold Center for the Arts 2004-2005 season kicks off with a little Latin flavor. El Gran Combo, often called the Ambassadors of Latin Music, will take the stage Saturday, Oct. 9, on St. Thomas, and then fly to St. Croix for a Sunday evening performance at the Island Center for the Performing Arts. Both performances will be at 8 p.m.
El Gran Combo, a 13-piece dance band from Puerto Rico, was formed in the early 60s by pianist and musical director Rafael Ithier. The band originally had nine members including a percussionist, dancer, chorus singer and salsa bandleader. They quickly distinguished themselves with horn punctuated Latin rhythms and lush vocal harmonies. The group played to enthusiastic crowds all over the world, including the United States, the Dominican Republic, Panama, Colombia and Venezuela, according to Myrshem George, marketing manager for the Reichhold Center.
Over the years, El Gran Combo has seen many musicians come and go, but still maintains the signature sound which was created more than 40 years ago. Today, only two of the 13 members are from the original group. Some of their more well-known songs include "Aguacero," "El Menu" and "Timbalero."
This is the third year an act from the Reichhold Center will be also be performing on St. Croix. "We're trying to not only include the St. Thomas and St. John markets, we also want to include St. Croix so these can be Virgin Islands acts," George said. The Reichhold Center will make it easier for fans from St. Croix to enjoy the rest of the season by offering travel packages for certain events at reduced rates. Airfare, hotel accommodations, ground transportation and a ticket to the event are all included, and rates are established per event. "We have done reservations right down to the very same day of the event, but it's easier if people plan ahead," George said.
Tickets are available on St. Thomas at both Modern Music locations, Parrot Fish, Crystal and Gifts Galore, the UVI Bookstore, Connections on St. John and the Reichhold Center for the Arts Ticketing Office. On St. Croix, tickets are available at Peoples Drug Store, Urban Threadz, the UVI Bookstore, Pier 69 and the Reichhold Center Ticketing Office.
For more information about El Gran Combo's performances and season subscriptions, call the Ticketing Office at 693-1559.
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