Cuban Beats and Good Eats

Grade Seven Goes on a Field Trip

Andrew, Staff Writer

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PURCHASE NY–This was not your typical assembly or your typical field trip. Seventh-grade students at Middlebrook School boarded coach buses and headed for Purchase, New York on the morning of April 8, 2019.

A visit to the PepsiCo sculpture garden had also been planned, but due to weather conditions, the seventh grade did not make the stop at PepsiCo and headed straight for their next destination, the performance at Purchase College.

Because 7-Red had left first, the students caught an earlier show from the Tiempo Libre. 7 Green and 7 Yellow caught the preceding show. Students were exposed to a variety of Cuban and Hispanic music such as timba, salsa, Latin jazz, merengue, and cha-cha. A group of kids even got to learn how to salsa from one of the band members on stage. Students were interested throughout the show and showed great enthusiasm to the performers. Eric, a seventh grader who attended the show said, “It was really fun and lively and the performers were very friendly. We also learned more about Cuban music and how it compares to the music we have here.”

Tiempo Libre was formed in 2001. In a post-performance Q&A session, the band members talked about how their band was formed. Tiempo Libre was formed when its members were still in school. The members would attend school and then meet up and play and listen to music together. “We were learning something new from 7 am to 10 pm every day,” said the band leader Jorge Gómez. The members of the band are all of Afro-Caribbean descent and are on a mission to share their heritage with other people as well as learn and appreciate others. Gómez also said, “This group is amazing because we have been through many hard things in Cuba, living in different countries, and then we reunited in Miami with the idea to play our music, play our culture, and to be the same way that we used to be in Cuba.” More about Tiempo Libre can be found here. Many students enjoyed the show.

After the show, each seventh-grade team went to a restaurant to have a meal. Seven-Red paid a visit to Barcelona, a Spanish restaurant in Norwalk. Students were served foods such as salad, ham and cheese croquettes, meatballs, empanadas, paella, and churros, classic Spanish foods. Seven-Green stopped for a quick bite at Copacabana in Port Chester, New York for some Brazilian food. Students were also served various foods on the restaurant’s menu such as marinated chicken, steak, pork loin, ribs, chicken wrapped in bacon, and pork sausage. Seven-Yellow stopped by Bertucci’s in Darien for some Italian food. The students were served pasta, bread, and pizza.

After the students ate, they headed back to school in time for regular dismissal. Many students learned more about Cuban dance music and Cuban culture. Alex, a seventh grader, said, “My favorite part about the trip was Tiempo Libre because it was very interesting to see Cuban cultural music and experience it live.”  

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