RSSArchive for November, 2014

Mariposa Foundation presents 6th annual Christmas Fair

The sixth annual Mariposa Christmas Fair will be on Saturday, Dec. 13, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Mariposa Center for Girls in Cabarete, near the entrance of La Ciénega.

The fair will feature live music, a raffle, circus performance, a petting zoo, sand castle competition and more. International food will be available, too.Mariposa Christmas Fair

Come prepared to buy all of your Christmas gifts from many talented local artisans and enjoy the day with your family.

Proceeds support the Mariposa DR Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that supports the education, health and empowerment of poor Haitian and Dominican girls.

Until December 10, donations to the Mariposas will be matched! Double your impact, and help the foundation continue to give our girls opportunities to dream. For more details or to donate visit or find the Mariposa DR Foundation page on Facebook. You can also call 809-571-0610.

Dominican Republic Jazz Festival delights audiences

Pat Pereyra y su Banda, Rafelito Mirabal, Guy Frometa & guest Alex Jacquemin. Photo courtesy of Dominican Republic Jazz Festival

Pat Pereyra y su Banda, Rafelito Mirabal, Guy Frometa & guest Alex Jacquemin. Photo courtesy of Dominican Republic Jazz Festival

By Matt Bokor

Music lovers from around the country and around the world enjoyed four nights of free concerts by internationally acclaimed musicians at the 18th annual Dominican Republic Jazz Festival, which brought performances to Puerto Plata, Sosúa and Cabarete Beach Nov. 6-9.

Known for its legendary performers and seaside venue, the festival came off better than scripted this year.

Rafael Solano performs 'Por Amor.' Photo courtesy of Dominican Republic Jazz Festival

Rafael Solano performs ‘Por Amor.’ Photo courtesy of Dominican Republic Jazz Festival

For starters several days of rain ended just in time, allowing the full moon to bathe the North Shore in its glow. And after the Jazz Festival presented an award to beloved Dominican composer-pianist Rafael Solano, 83, he unexpectedly took a seat at the grand piano and performed his famous love song, “Por Amor,” to the delight of the Saturday night audience at Cabarete Beach.

Throughout the weekend audiences soaked up the sounds of Colin Hunter & Joe Sealy’s Quartet (Canada); Ignacio Berroa Group (USA) with Giovanni Hidalgo (Puerto Rico); Berklee Global Jazz Institute (USA); Ramón Vázquez TríoS (Puerto Rico); Big Band Conservatory of Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic); Patricia Pereyra and Band with special guest Alex Jacquemin (France); Edgar Molina (Dominican Republic); the Joe Lovano Quartet (USA); and more.

Krency Garcia, El Prodigio, performs. Photo: Felix Corona

Krency Garcia, El Prodigio, performs. Photo: Felix Corona

Accordionist Krency Garcia, “El Prodigio,” made a special appearance, adding his merengue típico music to the mix. La Familia Andre, the popular Dominican fusion band, closed out the festival Sunday night.

Lorenzo Sancassi, tourism minister for the Puerto Plata province and a driving force behind the event, said the festival’s 18-year history makes it “the oldest of its kind in the country. The festival has endured, and provided immense joy and culture to both Dominicans and tourists who gather in our country to enjoy this magnificent event and the appeal of our island.”

Coinciding with the Dominican Republic’s Constitution Day holiday, the Jazz Festival goes beyond entertainment and into education through its affiliation with FEDUJAZZ, a non-profit organization that conducts musical workshops for youth. Motivating and developing young artistic talent, FEDUJAZZ has partnered with local organizations such as Sosúa City Council to further assist in the education of Dominican children, using jazz as the teaching platform.

Grammy winner Joe Lovano leads a children's workshop. Photo: Felix Corona

Grammy winner Joe Lovano leads a children’s workshop. Photo: Felix Corona

As part of the 2014 festival, hundreds of North Shore schoolchildren attended entertaining, educational sessions where the artists shared their love of music and explained how easy it is for the kids to find music in their lives.

“It was special, being on the beach, in front of 200 to 300 kids,” said Joe Lovano, a Grammy Award-winning saxophonist who led a workshop Saturday morning. “I felt like I was connecting with them. I could see I was reaching them in a certain way.”

Sponsors for the 18th Dominican Republic Jazz Festival included Ron Macorix, JetBlue, the United States Embassy, Berklee Global Jazz Institute, Sea Horse Ranch Luxury Resort, Ultravioleta, Millennium Resort & Spa, Casa Linda, the Municipality of Sosúa and Cibao Recycling.

Mark your calendar for the festival’s 19th edition: Nov. 5-8, 2015. For more visit

Colin Hunter with saxophonist Alison Young. Photo courtesy of Dominican Republic Jazz Festival

Colin Hunter with saxophonist Alison Young. Photo courtesy of Dominican Republic Jazz Festival

Damajagua volunteer Joe Kennedy re-elected to Congress

U.S. Rep. Joseph Patrick Kennedy III, a former Peace Corps volunteer who worked on sustainable tourism for Damajagua Falls, has been re-elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.

Kennedy, a Democrat who represents Massachusetts’ 4th Congressional District, coasted to a second term on Nov. 4 with no opposition.

Joe Kennedy

Joe Kennedy waves to crowds at the Boston Pride Parade on June 14, 2014. Photo: Joe Kennedy for Congress Facebook page

As a Peace Corps volunteer from 2004-2006, Kennedy used his business acumen and his connections to prevent the stunning Damajagua Falls attraction (27 Charcos) from being monopolized by private tour companies, which were paying local guides only a few dollars per trip.

He worked side by side with community members in the Damajagua Falls Guides Association to win a government concession that secured local control over the site and ensured fair pay for the guides, among other improvements.

Kennedy recounted his experience as part of an October 2014 article in America magazine:

“We convinced the government to put the park under local control, allowing the community to set wages and craft safety precautions. We raised money and built a small business to run the park operations with more local autonomy,” he wrote. “We set up a community reinvestment fund so that a portion of every entrance fee went into the local neighborhood—to build a bridge, buy a school bus, bring clean water to the community.”

Kennedy, who is the grandson of the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, came to work in Puerto Plata after graduating in Management Science and Engineering from Stanford University. After leaving he completed a law degree at Harvard Law School in 2009. He was an assistant district attorney in Middlesex County in Massachusetts when he ran for his first term in 2012.

Joe Kennedy III

Congressman Joe Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts. Photo: Congressman Joe Kennedy III Facebook page