Hostos was home to the wildly successful BomPlenazo Festival from October 6 to October 9. The biennial celebration of Afro-Puerto Rican music and dance had a special theme this year, as it was dedicated to the memory of José “Chema” Soto, who passed away in 2015, was known as a patriarch of the musical style. On Saturday, his memory was honored with a premier screening of the documentary, “A Tribute to José ‘Chema’ Soto.” Saturday night also featured the return of the BomPlenazo Artists Collective returns, led by NEA National Heritage Fellow Juan “Juango” Gutiérrez, performing original and standard works of the bomba and plena traditions.
John MacElwee, Director of the Hostos Center for the Arts & Culture, said approximately 2,300 people attended the festival.
“It was a very exciting BomPlenazo. We had many more artists from Puerto Rico this year, as well as bomba and plena artists from Chicago, San Francisco and elsewhere,” MacElwee said. “With the passing of José ‘Chema’ Soto, one of the three founders of BomPlenazo, and the patriarch of the Rincon Criollo Cultural Center, La Casita de Chema – the inspiration for our festival – the entire event took on an extra special meaning. In addition to the premiere of the documentary about Chema produced by BronxNet, many songs about him were performed, including an emotional send off at the final event of at La Casita de Chema on Sunday afternoon.”
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About Hostos Community College
Eugenio María de Hostos Community College is an educational agent for change that has been transforming and improving the quality of life in the South Bronx and neighboring communities since 1968. It serves as a gateway to intellectual growth and socioeconomic mobility, as well as a point of departure for lifelong learning, success in professional careers, and transfer to advanced higher education programs. The College’s unique Student Success Coaching Unit provides students with individualized guidance and exemplifies its emphasis on student support services.
Hostos offers 29 associate degree programs and two certificate programs that facilitate easy transfer to The City University of New York’s (CUNY) four-year colleges or baccalaureate studies at other institutions. The College has an award-winning Division of Continuing Education & Workforce Development that offers professional development courses and certificate-bearing workforce training programs. Hostos is part of CUNY, the nation’s leading urban public university, which serves more than 500,000 students at 24 colleges.