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Musical Icons: Tito Puente and Celia Cruz

Signature Events

Event Details

Celebrate two of the most popular Latin artists of the twentieth century: Tito Puente and Celia Cruz, who helped make salsa and Latin jazz music staples in the American musical landscape. Come take part in fun activities, enjoy performances, and learn about the musical styles and legacies of “The King of the Timbales” and “The Queen of Salsa,” both featured in MIM’s Artist Gallery.

Gifts Available for Purchase
9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
The Museum Store will feature a collection of items dedicated to the “King and Queen of Latin Music.” Get to know these two Latin inspirations who brought salsa, mambo, and more to the masses, with books and CDs.

Maraca Craft-Making Activity
9:30 a.m.–4:00 p.m.
Maracas are an emblematic Latin American musical instrument that provide rhythmic energy to many types of Latin music. Build your own and shake it along to your favorite mambo!

Photo Booth
9:30 a.m.–4:00 p.m.
Use colorful props to add some flare to your look. Snap some photos at MIM’s custom photo booth and instantly get your own copy to take home.

Toe-Tap Pianos
9:30 a.m.–4:00 p.m.
Tap salsa music with your toes! Play some tunes on our eight-foot-long piano mats.

Mini-Tours of the Latin America Gallery
10:30 a.m. and 1:15 p.m. (Saturday only)
Join Girl Scout Junior Museum Guides (6th–12th graders) on a short, informative tour of the Latin America Gallery. Mini-tours are offered on Saturday only and will take place at select times throughout the day, so be sure to stop by for one.

Caricatures by She Draws You
11:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m.
Remember the day with a caricature! Have a portrait drawn by local artist Dianne Nowicki of She Draws You Caricatures.

Film Screenings
11:00 a.m.
Enjoy a closer look at the lives of these Latin jazz icons. Come to MIM this weekend for special screenings of documentaries that highlight the legacies of Tito Puente and Celia Cruz. MIM will present a different film each day—both full of intriguing facts, interviews, and performance footage. Don’t miss this chance to see these iconic Latin music artists on the big screen.

Drumming and Music-Making Activity
11:30 a.m.–noon and 12:15–12:45 p.m. (Saturday only)
Take part in family-friendly drumming and music making! Girl Scout Junior Museum Guides will lead this fun musical activity throughout the day on Saturday only—you won’t want to miss it.

Latin-Inspired Menu Available for Purchase
11:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m.
Enjoy samplings of Cuban cuisine at Café Allegro, including Caldo Gallego, Arroz con Pollo, and Flan.

Cuban Percussion and Dance Workshop
1:00–1:30 p.m.
From its roots in Africa to its development in Cuba and the United States, discover the exciting musical style of Afro-Cuban jazz with Rebecca Kennell, musical director of the local band Carmela y Más. Unravel the basic rhythmic foundation of clave, known as the backbone of Cuban music, and how it relates to rumba, son, and cha-cha-chá. Join the fun as live drummers demonstrate the sounds and dancers illustrate the movements that make up the Cuban musical style known as salsa.

Curator Talk: “From the Caribbean to New York and the World — Introducing the King and Queen of Latin Music”
1:45– 2:30 p.m.
Delve into Latin music history as told through the story of two of its most important exponents, Tito Puente and Celia Cruz. Curator Daniel Piper will start us off in New York City and Havana, Cuba, in the 1940s, when Puente and Cruz launched their careers, and innovative Puerto Rican and Cuban big bands were setting the stage for the explosive international growth of Latin music. Learn about Puente’s and Cruz’s prolific careers from the 1950s through the 1990s; their artistic collaborations with other legends of mambo, salsa, and Latin jazz; and enjoy selections of music from each decade. In the last portion of the presentation, guests will join a discussion about the celebrated musical luminaries and their lasting influence upon Latin music and culture into the twenty-first century. On Saturday, special guest Omer Pardillo, Grammy-winning producer and manager for Celia Cruz, will participate.

Performance: South Mountain Community College (SMCC) Latin Jazz Band
2:45–3:30 p.m.
Tito Puente and Celia Cruz both had a huge impact on Latin jazz music in America. Come experience their musical legacy—live! The SMCC Latin Jazz Big Band will jump-start the action at MIM when they perform Latin jazz dance music in the style of our musical icons.

Photo courtesy of © Jack Vartoogian / FrontRowPhotos

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Complete your weekend experience and see Carmela y Más at the MIM Music Theater at 7:00 p.m. on Sunday, April 15. After the day’s activities, Carmela y Más will present a full-length performance of Latin jazz music as a musical tribute to Tito Puente and Celia Cruz.

Tickets are sold separately and available here.

Café Allegro Lunch Menu Highlights

“Ajiaco Criollo” Country-Style “Havana” Stew

“Latin-Rhythm Pattern” “Mambo Kings” “Caldo Gallego” Bean Soup

“Arroz con Pollo” (Chicken and Rice) with “Queen of Salsa” Spices and “Backbeat Cha-Chas” with a “KickBeat” of Baby Peas

Cuban “Timbale” Sandwich with “Solos” of Slices of Pork, “Fills” of Serrano Ham, “Rolling Sounds” of Swiss Cheese, Pickles, and Yellow Mustard on a Pressed Baguette

“Azucar” Cuban Guava and Cheese Pastry

Seasonal Flan with “Rumba Dance Percussion”