The following is a guest post from Dr Mark Naison and syndicated from his blog.…
When we first started our music program with a handful of kids in 2009 we only dreamed of one day having an orchestra full of youth from the South Bronx. Now, not only does such an orchestra exist but it’s had the incredible good fortune to travel to Venezuela for a week of intensive study and performance with El Sistema, the world-renown Venezuelan system of youth orchestras and choirs that inspired us to start UpBeat NYC six years ago.
The Venezuelan-Bronx cultural exchange continues this weekend when the National Youth Orchestra of Caracas comes to Crotona Park for a free outdoor concert open to the public. The 160-piece orchestra will also be performing this weekend at the United Nations for its 70th anniversary celebration. It is noteworthy that this renowned orchestra, one of El Sistema’s most important orchestral and educational achievements, will be holding its public concert in the South Bronx, a community rich in its own culture but so often overlooked and underserved.
This Sunday from Noon to 4PM is your LAST CHANCE to Boogie on The Boulevard in 2015 for this 3 Sunday summer event which closes off the center lanes of The Grand Concourse between 161st and 167th Street—a full 7 city block stretch—transforming this area into a huge an approximately 4.75 acre recreational space filled with fitness and health activities, art, dancing, bike riding, skating, performing arts and so much more!
This Sunday will also have a special treat for everyone: Morris Perk will be stationed inside The Bronx Museum serving their popular Bronx Blend coffee, limeade, and delicious pastelitos (aka pastelillos aka empanadas) made locally right here in The Bronx supporting other Bronx women owned businesses! (The last two times Morris Perk served all of this deliciousness, they sold out so make sure to get there early before they are all sold out!
“You’ve heard of American Idol. Now, get ready for Bronx Idol.
The Jerome-Gun Hill Business Improvement District is sponsoring the musical contest, with the first round happening online through Aug. 15. The competition is opened to teens between ages of 12 and 19 and the Contestants are required to post a 2-3 minute video on YouTube showcasing their vocal talents.
Out of the hundreds of “casitas” or little houses that dot community gardens across New York City, there is one that is known by folks all over—considered the oldest and largest one in NYC—and it is Rincon Criollo aka Casa de Chema named by locals for its founder, Jose “Chema” Soto who passed away Thursday at the age of 70.
When residents of the South Bronx were left to their own devices among rubble and ruin, Don Chema took it upon himself to clean up an abandoned lot on Brook Avenue and 158th Street 40 years ago back in 1975.
After No Longer Empty’s residency and exhibition at the Old Bronx Borough Courthouse, ‘When You Cut Into The Preset The Future Leaks Out’, and over 6,000 visitors—over 75% from the area and not counting youth programs who graced the halls of this hallowed landmark—many have asked what now?
Well one possibility is that The Universal Hip Hop Museum—the only and official Hip-Hop museum chartered by the State of New York—may in fact call the Old Bronx Borough Courthouse Home. A fitting tribute given the fact that The Bronx is the birthplace of the global phenomenon that is Hip-Hop.
For 3 Sundays in August (August 2nd, 9th, & 16th) the center lanes of The Grand Concourse will be closed off to vehicular traffic from Noon to 4PM stretching from 161st Street all the way to 167th Street—doubling last year’s footprint of the event!
There will be tons of activities on these days for folks of all ages with free music, arts programs by local artists, and many more! Oh and speaking of art, The BxArts Factory will be on hand with art workshops in their outdoor gallery with DJs spinning music reflecting the borough’s diverse cultures as murals are painted by local artists!
As No Longer Empty’s residency and exhibition, ‘When You Cut Into The Present The Future Leaks Out’ at the Old Bronx Borough Courthouse is coming to an end as it enters its final month, an open call is being issued to local Bronx artists to end the exhibition with a big celebration.
The Grand Concourse, the boulevard of dreams which ties all Bronxites together and is the spine of The Bronx, was once closed on Sundays from 1991-1996 thanks the visionary leadership of then Borough President Fernando Ferrer along with Transportation Alternatives.
Last year, residents and local community based organizations alike, including The Bronx Museum of The Arts and Transportation Alternatives banded together to revive the popular event.
In 2014 we just got a few blocks from 165th Street to 167th Street for just 3 Sundays but this year we’re getting 8 blocks for 3 Sundays on August 2nd, 9th, and 16th from Noon to 12PM!