Grossmont College hosts ‘Salsa under the Stars’

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Grossmont College’s student fundraiser “Salsa under the Stars,” held on April 13, featuring Manny Cepeda and his Orchestra Classic Salsa Band, offered up the basics of dancing the salsa, a concert listening to Cepeda’s own musical creations and more, all under the stars.

“I’m going to strut my stuff,” said master of ceremonies and student, Ali Aldhalimi. That he did, cracking jokes and espousing passionate introductions.

The dance instructors started the evening off by teaching moves for the classic salsa and others.

Grossmont College’s student fundraiser “Salsa under the Stars,” held on April 13, featuring Manny Cepeda and his Orchestra Classic Salsa Band, offered up the basics of dancing the salsa, a concert listening to Cepeda’s own musical creations and more, all under the stars.

“I’m going to strut my stuff,” said master of ceremonies and student, Ali Aldhalimi. That he did, cracking jokes and espousing passionate introductions.

The dance instructors started the evening off by teaching moves for the classic salsa and others.

“This is the second annual Salsa under the Stars,” said Anthony Cutietta, who is with Grossmont College’s music department. “Last year was a huge success and we were pleased with the turnout. This year we have dance instructors David Luu and Sujelia Esparza.”

The instructors are with Melomano Entertainment which specialize in salsa and bachata.

Cepeda’s music hit just the right note for the evening.

“We have a mixture of covers and originals,” he said.  “It will be different than last year with songs from my CD, Padre Querido, which is number one in California.  We are also going to do Dominican Republic, Cuba, mambo, and bachata. We invite students, our fans, and the community to come.” 

Cepeda noted his CD is competing for a Latin Grammy and the ceremony will be in November 2018.

He was backed by musicians like Derek Cannon, Zori Tinker and, of course, his orchestra. 

 ‘Despacito’ (sans Justin Bieber) by Luis Fonsi, ‘Que Será’ by Tito Puente, ‘La Pollera Colora’ by Juan Luis Guerra, and ‘Primavera’ by Manny Cepeda were included in his two sets.  Songs originally sung by Gloria Estefan, Marc Anthony, Ruben Blades and the Buena Vista Social Club were also part of his sets.

The evening began with salsa lessons from 5:30-6:30 p.m., outdoors in the Main Quad.  Tickets were $20 for the public and $10 for students, and could be purchased online. Free parking was available in Lot 7. San Diego Taco Company sold taco plates to the attendees.

Alex Viramontes, president of the Dreamers Movement Club, said the food sales are a fundraiser for the club.

The event brought together a diverse range of talent on campus.

 “Our digital arts students came up with the posters,” said Carrie Ottalagano, clerical assistant for the dean of arts, languages, and communication.  The colorful posters were displayed by the entrance highlighting the event.

“I’m thrilled to be here for this event,” said guitarist Zori Tinker, “This is where I grew up and went to school. I’m happy to give back.”

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