Arts & Entertainment

New Date Set for Free Latin Music Concert

December 13, 2012 at 10:41 AM

Scotch Plains Public Library has rescheduled its launch of the community’s Big Read program, postponed due to Superstorm Sandy, for Thursday, January 10 at 7:00 PM at Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School.

The library and its Big Read partners have planned a kickoff program of Latin American music performed by Tropyband Orquesta because the book chosen for this Big Read, In the Time of the Butterflies, by Julia Alvarez, is set in the Dominican Republic. Scotch Plains Public Library’s Big Read partners include Scotch Plains-Fanwood Schools, Literacy Volunteers of Union County, Inc., New Jersey City University, and the Friends of Scotch Plains Public Library. Interested people in all communities are encouraged to take part in the many activities this Big Read will offer.

Tropyband Orquesta is a 14-piece Latin music ensemble, complete with vocalists. The band, comprised of professional musicians and students from New Jersey City University, will entertain the audience with merengue, salsa and more music of the Caribbean and Latin America. A dance space will be provided for audience members who wish to move with the music. Manager Jairo Bernal is enthusiastic about what makes his band unique, “We started in 1996 with guitars and a keyboard and have expanded ever since to 10, 12 or 14 performers, depending on the venue. Recently we performed for over 8,000 spectators at the Elizabeth Colombian Festival. What makes us unique is that we play many kinds of music – salsa, cumbia, merengue, bolero, bachata, to name just a few.  When we visit Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School,  we will introduce our songs and speak a little about the various styles to our audience, in addition to playing.”  Aspiring musicians and music afficionados are welcome to meet the band after  the performance.

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Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School is located at 667 Westfield Road in Scotch Plains. No registration is required for this free concert.  Please call Scotch Plains Public Library for driving directions and further information.

The Big Read is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts designed to restore reading to the center of American culture. The Big Read is managed by Arts Midwest. Scotch Plains is one of 78 communities nationwide participating in the current Big Read. From January through mid-June, Big Read participants will celebrate In the Time of the Butterflies, by reading this book and participating in a full calendar of events including book discussions, guest speakers, poster and essay contests, video chats with Julia Alvarez, and a Festival of Latin American Culture.  

Students in grades K-12 in the Scotch Plains-Fanwood school district will explore the salient themes of Julia Alvarez’s work by reading grade-appropriate works by this prolific author. Students will also be involved in organizing and facilitating a variety of community events including book discussions and festival participation. 

Sandy also forced the Big Read partners to postpone an appearance by Jessica Lawson of the Mariposa DR Foundation. She is now scheduled to speak at Scotch Plains Public Library on Wednesday, January 9 at 7:00 PM. She will talk about the group’s work educating and empowering girls in the Dominican Republic, and the power of the “girl effect.

The Big Read partners welcome all participants to the many events planned from January to June. More information may be found on the web sites of Scotch Plains Public Library ( and The Big Read (

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