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First Annual Summer Fest July 31 Features Latin Jazz


Patty Price
(718) 544-2996

Maria Matteo
Queens College News Services
(718) 997-5593

Queens College & the Office of the Queens Borough President Present
Queens College Campus
Sunday, July 31, 2005 at Noon; Tickets Only $10, Free for Kids

Latin Jazz Coalition, Ray Vega & the Latin Jazz Sextet, and
the Chico O’Farrill Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra
to Headline All-Day Music Festival

FLUSHING, NY, June 14, 2005 -- The first annual QUEENS SUMMER FEST, a co-presentation of Queens College and the Office of the Queens Borough President, will take place on Sunday afternoon, July 31, rain or shine, in the park-like setting of the Queens College campus in Flushing. The festival has won the endorsements of the Queens College Arts Advisory Council and Borough President Helen Marshall. A leading champion of tourism in Queens, Ms. Marshall has sponsored numerous cultural attractions and recreational events since becoming the borough’s President in 2001, and is especially delighted to co-present SUMMER FEST at her alma mater.

This year SUMMER FEST features Latin-inspired music drawn from the rich cultural traditions found throughout the borough of Queens. The music will start at noon on Sunday, July 31, and culminate in the early evening with the hot sounds of the Latin Jazz Coalition, Ray Vega & the Latin Jazz Sextet, and the Chico O’Farrill Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra.

The Queens-based Latin Jazz Coalition was founded in 1986 by trombonist/composer Demetrios Kastaris. Since that time, LJC has performed with such Latin jazz luminaries as Tito Puente, Dave Valentin, Claudio Roditi, Steve Turre, Edy Matinez, and many others. The ensemble has performed at the United Nations and the Statue of Liberty, and has provided musical entertainment at events honoring Rudolph Giuliani and former Queens Borough President Claire Shulman.

A native of the South Bronx, Ray Vega is a veteran of the salsa and Latin jazz bands of Tito Puente, Ray Barretto, Mongo Santamaria, Hector LaVoe, and Louie Ramirez to name a few. A multi-talented trumpeter, percussionist, composer, and arranger, he presents innovative Latin jazz from a refreshingly original and contemporary perspective. His own fiery band, Ray Vega & the Latin Jazz Sextet, offers real New York Latin Jazz—a true fusion of jazz repertoire and Latin rhythms.

The music of legendary Cuban composer, arranger, and trumpeter Chico O’Farrill lives on with the Chico O’Farrill Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra, directed by his son, Arturo O’Farrill. In 1995 Arturo—pianist, educator, and musical director of the Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra—agreed to direct the 18-piece band, which has been in residence at New York City’s Birdland for the past few years as well as performing throughout the world.

The day’s events will take place in and around the Quad, a centrally located mall on the campus that is within easy walking distance of parking lots and bus stops. The grassy tree-lined Quad is a perfect setting for picnicking (no grills or alcohol please!) and enjoying the entertainment. On the Quad’s west end, a raised stage will accommodate the performers, offering a commanding view of the New York City skyline as its backdrop. Food vendors will provide a variety of ethnic delights for those who prefer not to bring their own provisions.

On the east end of the Quad, a supervised play area for kids, including free face-painting and a super-sized inflatable Moonwalker, will be set up. And to satisfy the shopper in us all, local artisans will be displaying their wares.

While you’re at SUMMER FEST, be sure to visit the College’s numerous art exhibits, which offer a cool and quiet respite from the day’s outdoor activities. Don’t miss the impressive Godwin-Ternbach Museum, located in Klapper Hall, and its current exhibit, A Celebration of Music in the Visual Arts, featuring paintings, prints, photographs, sculpture, and installations by Queens artists. Complementing the contemporary art will be works from the museum’s permanent collection depicting images of music, dance, and celebration from various cultures, ranging from the ancient world to the 20th century.

A visit to the Queens College Art Center, on the sixth floor of Rosenthal Library, offers the rare opportunity to see a 50-year retrospective of works by Suzanne Benton, artist, performer, and mask-maker. Before exiting the Library, stop by the Louis Armstrong Archives on the entrance level, where you’ll view a display of specially selected pieces from the legendary performer’s treasure trove of memorabilia. And if you’re a true Armstrong enthusiast, sign up for a must-see side trip to the Louis Armstrong House Museum. Free round-trip transportation on the Satchmobile will shuttle you to Louis’s home in Corona, where you can take a 40-minute guided tour at a special reduced price.

The friendly staff at the Welcome Center, located in Jefferson Hall, will be glad to offer information throughout the day about the many academic opportunities available at Queens College. This includes over 100 undergraduate and graduate degree programs as well as Continuing Education offerings, including part-time and full-time courses in English as a second language.

Media Note: For more information, images, reviews, or to set up a phone interview, please contact Patty Price at Queens College, 718-544-2996 or

Tickets for QUEENS SUMMER FEST are $10. Children 12 and under enter free. Advance orders may be placed at 718-793-8080 or at the Colden Center Box Office. On the day of the performance, tickets may be purchased at two SUMMER FEST entry points. Pedestrians only: enter at the Main Gate on Kissena Boulevard. Vehicles and pedestrians: enter at Gate 3 on Reeves Avenue.

Queens College is located between exits 23 & 24 of the eastbound service road of the L.I.E. in Flushing. By public transportation, take the #7 train to Main Street, Flushing. From there, take the Q25, Q34, or Q17 bus to the Kissena Boulevard bus stop (Main Gate entrance). Free on-site parking is available. For more information, call 718-544-2996 or visit the Queens College Web site at


 Office Information

Deputy Director of News Services
(Position vacant)

(718) 997- 5597

Maria Matteo
Assistant Director of News Services
Queens Hall, Room 270B
(718) 997-5593

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