Monday, October 22, 2018

Local Opera Singers and Classical Musicians to Perform at Puerto Rico Benefit on April 28th

Together, the La Isla Foundation and Opera on Tap Seattle will co-sponsor a concert, Canciones para Puerto Rico (“Songs for Puerto Rico” in Spanish), taking place this Saturday, April 28th at 7:30 p.m. to sponsor and provide supplies for two patient rooms in a free clinic in Quebradillas, Puerto Rico.

More than seven months after two back-to-back hurricanes ravaged the island’s infrastructure, Puerto Rico made headlines again last week. This time, the majority of the island lost power once more after almost 900,000 residents experienced a power outage only a week prior, renewing local efforts here in Seattle to provide more relief to those on the American island.

Local mezzo-soprano opera singer Elizabeth Galafa (Photo Credit: Kat Hennessey)

Event organizers credit Elizabeth Galafa, Orlando, Florida native and local opera singer, for envisioning this event. Galafa recalls watching television news coverage of Hurricane Maria shortly after it devastated much of Puerto Rico and remembers a reporter saying, “We need the Latino community on the mainland to step up and help our fellow brothers and sisters now.” She heeded to this call to action and the idea to utilize her singing talents was born.

“I needed to do something,” Galafa shares. “As a performer, I have experience with fundraising for my own projects and programming, so this event was a no-brainer once I put two and two together.”

The mezzo-soprano performer approached the La Isla Foundation, a local, volunteer-led non-profit organization that offers immediate and long-term relief to Puerto Rico, about bringing talented classical musicians and opera singers together to raise funds for the island. Around that same time, the One Human Family Coalition Free Clinic of Quebradillas, Puerto Rico, a free and self-sustainable, volunteer-led clinic, contacted the newly developed organization in Seattle offering tangible ways to offer assistance to patients on the island. Need, meet your solution.

Staff does its best to meet the needs of patients on the island (Photo credit: One Human Family Coalition Free Clinic)

Soon, Opera on Tap Seattle, a local not-for-profit network of talented opera performers, threw its support behind this benefit to be held at the Congregational Church on Mercer Island, who is graciously offering its space to host in what is deemed to be an unforgettable night. Three classical guitarists from the University of Washington School of Music and two pianists will accompany eight local opera singers including Ylaya. Attendees can expect to hear works by Manuel de Falla, Fernando Obradors, Pablo Luna, Xavier Montsalvatge, and Joaquín Rodrigo. Limited seating is available so purchase your tickets online today or arrive right when doors open to grab a seat.

EVENT DETAILS

  • When: Saturday, April 28th at 7:30 p.m. / Doors open at 7:00 p.m.
  • Where: Congregational Church on Mercer Island/ 4545 Island Crest Way Mercer Island
  • Tickets: $15 online/$20 at door (credit card/cash accepted)

Doors open at 7:00 p.m. for guests to enjoy refreshments while visiting an informational booth regarding the La Isla Foundation’s progress, with the performance starting at 7:30 p.m.

All proceeds will sponsor and supply two patient rooms for the One Human Family Coalition Free Clinic of Quebradillas, Puerto Rico, in order to serve more patients. Can’t attend but want to donate toward this cause? Visit La Isla Foundation’s YouCaring page to make a donation today.

Patients wait to be seen at the free clinic in Quebradillas, Puerto Rico. (Photo credit: One Human Family Coalition Free Clinic)

About Opera on Tap Seattle:

Opera on Tap started in Brooklyn back in 2005 and incorporated in 2007 and now has over twenty national and international chapters of performers, creators, and supporters. This not-for-organization’s mission takes the art form of opera directly to the people in alternative venues, oftentimes in bars, to educate the public on culture and the arts and provide support and performance opportunities to young classical instrumentalists and opera singers alike. One goal is to make this genre of art more approachable and breakdown the preconceived notion that opera is a strictly for concert halls and elitist crowd. To learn more, visit Opera on Tap and for a list of upcoming Opera on Tap Seattle events, visit them here or read more about local auditions on its website.

About La Isla Foundation:

In September 2017, two back-to-back hurricanes destroyed much of Puerto Rico’s infrastructure that has resulted in more than 95% of the island without electricity and leaving the island in dire need of food and potable water. Quickly thereafter, volunteers in the Puget Sound area created the La Isla Foundation, a non-profit organization, to help meet this immediate need. Since its inception in early October 2017, this active, volunteer-led organization has not only filled and delivered four large storage units with water, food for pet and human consumption, and emergency, medical, and hygiene supplies, but sorted through a plethora of donations to create just over 100 family care packages, over 120 first-aid kits, and filled 100 reusable bags of groceries for hurricane survivors. In November, these essential items finally reached the hurricane survivors. Last winter, La Isla Foundation sent volunteers to distribute water filters and water filtration systems for community use. Over seven months after both hurricanes landed, the La Isla Foundation is partnering with non-profit organizations on the island to establish more sustainable methods of long-term recovery. To learn more on volunteering or to donate to the La Isla Foundation, visit them here.

Editor’s Note: The writer for this piece serves as Co-President for the La Isla Foundation Board of Directors.

ABOUT ERIKA ALMANZA BROWN

A Texas native, Erika Almanza Brown, has called Seattle “home” for seven years by way of the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area after graduating from Grinnell College in Iowa. While in the nation’s capital, she served as a Teach For America Corps Member during which she obtained a Master of Arts in Teaching from American University. More recently, Erika works as a freelance writer, and her work has appeared in Seattle magazine, Seattleite.com, and Austin Monthly. When she is not writing, Erika serves as Co-President for the La Isla Foundation Board of Directors, enjoys traveling, exploring new beaches, and hosting gatherings with her husband and young daughter. Follow her on Instagram @almanzabrown.

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