A grateful Minnesota Orchestra returns from Cuba

A group of 165 people with the Minnesota Orchestra returned home after a visit to Cuba. Most of them were honored to be members of the first of any orchestra to take a trip to the island since 1999.

"We were just so happy to be there," said cello player Tony Ross.

Ross' feelings were shared by many of the musicians who accompanied him.

"I'm so honored to have the chance to participate," said violist Rebecca Corruccini.

"The people treated us like family; there was music everywhere we went. Everywhere we went we were greeted with some kind of music," said trumpet player Manny Laureano.

Beyond the hospitality, the members were also excited to share stories about music's ability to connect across cultures.

"The first concert we played was Beethoven which is incredibly deep on a human level the second concert when we played both national anthems the audience was in tears," said Ross

"People were crying, and singing, and crying and it was unbelievable," said Paul Decosse a fan who travelled with the Orchestra.

Before playing two big shows at the 19th annual International CubaDisco Festival, 100 or so musician also took part in student coaching at a high school and a university.

"The students were marvelous. Very well trained, and there were some kids I wanted to bring back home with me, said Laureano.

After the major shows, Orchestra member found time to link up with Cuban musicians for a jam session at a Havana café.

"On a basic human level just getting to know so many Cubans and just how beautiful and how much in common we have as humans, in our love for music, arts and humanity," said Ross.

The last time the Minnesota Orchestra visited the island it was 1930, and rather than taking a chartered plane, as they did this time, they took a steamship.

"This is a once in a lifetime type of experience that can never be recreated so I'm so happy we had the chance to do it," said Corruccini.


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