Founded in 1978 by Chilean refugees and community supporters, La Peña Community Chorus has been performing Latin American New Song—Nueva Canción—for over 35 years. Accompanying ourselves on guitars, flutes, drums, and a large assortment of Latin American instruments, the Chorus has sung for schools, churches, homeless shelters, retirement homes, drug rehab centers, benefits for farm workers, and peace demonstrations and rallies.
A wealth of talented composers and arrangers have provided original repertoire over the years. Two former directors penned cantatas based on the poetry of Chilean Nobel Prize-winning poet Pablo Neruda and founder and current directors, Lichi Fuentes and Jan Thyer arrange and conduct new pieces in much of the largely Spanish and English social justice-focused repertoire.
Since 1995, when the Chorus was the first U.S. Chorus to participate in an International Choral Festival in Santiago de Cuba, the Chorus has also traveled to Chile, Cuba, Mexico, Peru, Uruguay, and Argentina always returning with stories, songs, and images that are largely missing from mainstream news broadcasts. Lasting personal and cultural connections with people in the host countries are relived and passed on as the chorus shares with each new audience the music learned and the stories collected.
The chorus is a close-knit group of caring people whose long-term commitment to the organization bespeaks consistency and a sense of family unique in today’s difficult times.
For more information about the Chorus and to find out how to join, please visit the La Peña Community Chorus website.