Rafael’s commitment to broadening the music curriculum created the space for the Augsburg University Jazz Ensemble to transform into the Augsburg University Salsa Orchestra for a very special concert of Latin American music. Carlos Granthon from Peru joined Costa Rican percussionist Kendall Berrocal and Costa Rica trumpet player Roy Barrientos in a series of rehearsals, coaching sessions, and master classes geared towards helping the Minneapolis students approach this stylistically diverse music. Rafael wrote all of the arrangements for the band and sat in with the group as a trombonist while Maestro Granthon led the band as its guest conductor.
Faculty members who were present commented that this was the most engaging and enriching performance by a university ensemble that they had attended in years. And no one expected to see an auditorium full of university professors and students dancing to live salsa music performed by a university student ensemble!