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Sonoma County’s First Latin Jazz Music & Dance Festival February 15-17

Discounted Festival Price Package at Flamingo Conference Resort & Spa Until Jan. 31.

SANTA ROSA, Calif., January 10, 2013 – The Flamingo Conference Resort & Spa is offering a discounted package price until Jan. 31 for a weekend of Latin Jazz, Salsa music and dancing featuring a prestigious list of Bay Area performers at the first Latin Jazz Music & Dance Festival on Feb. 15 – 17.

Santa Rosa Salsa founder Irene Silva is the producer of the event, which brings together talented Latin Jazz and Salsa musicians and dancers for three days of music, dancing, performances and food & wine.

“The festivals mission is to educate, entertain and inspire interest and appreciation of Latin Jazz, Salsa music and dance in all ages,” Silva says. “The long term goal and fundraising aspect of the festival is to promote the extraordinary benefits of music education in young people, and to create a community outreach program that provides music education programs for youth. I can’t imagine what my life would be like if I hadn’t had music as part of my education. Playing the flute in the concert band from the 4th through12th grades shaped who I am.”

Silva’s dream is to create a youth Latin Arts Program and eventually a Latin Arts Center in Sonoma County. Friday night’s gala dinner will be a fundraiser to raise the seed money for a nonprofit to make the dream a reality. All of the festival’s workshops and dances, excluding the events that have a wine component, have youth pricing and are open to children and teenagers with an interest in music and dance. 

The Feb. 15 gala dinner and dance kicks off the festival with the high-energy, classic Salsa, and original Latin Jazz of Louie Romero Y Su Grupo Mazacote, named one of the premier Salsa ensembles in Northern Calif. by Latin Beat magazine. The San Francisco timbales player and percussionist is known for his work with famed salsero Hector Lavoe of El Cantante, in addition to Salsa and Jazz stars from his native New York, including Willie Colón, Rubén Blades, Celia Cruz and Ron Carter. 

Saturday’s schedule includes a 1 – 3 p.m. performance by the talented musicians of The Latin Jazz Youth Ensemble of San Francisco, a performing group of ages 10 to 18 who have performed with the Grammy Award-winning Spanish Harlem Orchestra. In the late afternoon, Christian Tumalan And His Latin Jazz Quartet will entertain festival participants while they taste the wines of Sonoma County. Starting at 10 p.m., Pacific Mambo Orchestra and the Latin, Salsa big band sounds of the 1940’s through 1960’s will take the stage. Described by critics as one of the most exciting live acts in the Bay Area, trumpeter Steffen Kuehn and pianist Christian Tumalan, founders of the band, will lead an instrumental assembly that consists of trumpets, trombones, saxophones, piano, bass, timbales, congas, bongos and female lead vocalist Alexis Guillen.

One of the most anticipated non-musical events of the festival is the Sunday afternoon food and wine pairing with award winning winery Ceja Vineyards. Ariel Ceja, a Salsa dancer and owner of Napa’s Bistro Sabor, will conduct the pairing of Ceja’s wines with a three-course luncheon. The festival ends on Sunday with dance performances and dance concert by Josh Jones Latin Jazz Ensembles “Tribute to Ray Barreto.” The internationally renowned drummer and percussionist has toured with a who’s who of Jazz greats. He has recorded albums with music royalty including Larry Coryell, Phil Ranelin, Peter Apfelbaum, Chico Freeman, Tupac Shakur, Zion-I, Taj Mahal and Afro Cuba de Matanzas.

Performances by local dance companies, and dance and music workshops, will be held throughout all three days. The main workshop, conducted by Dr. John Calloway of the Latin Jazz Youth Ensemble, is a workshop on the components of Salsa music, from its roots in Afro-Cuban rhythms to the Jazz and pop influences found in contemporary Salsa music. Calloway will demonstrate various percussion instruments, coupled with the piano and bass grooves known as tumbao, while delving into the romántica, dura, South American and la Salsa Cubana.

The Flamingo Conference Resort & Spa has been a venue for Santa Rosa Salsa’s dance classes for the past 12 years and is the official hotel for the festival. As a sponsor of the festival, the resort is offering a special discounted Latin Jazz Music & Dance Festival Package that includes three nights accommodations and a full festival ticket for $379 per person based on double occupancy. Individual reservations made before Jan. 31 are available from the resort at an additional festival discount of $20, on Deluxe, Superior and Executive King rooms, and $80 on suites. Reservations may be made at (800) 848-8300. Information on the resort is available at

A full festival ticket is $149 for adults and $119 for youth. Daily passes are available ranging between $45 - $69 per day, and musical events, dance competitions, and music and dance workshops range from $10 - $45. Festival tickets may be purchased at

The Flamingo Conference Resort & Spa has been an independent family-owned business in Sonoma County for more than 30 years. Reservations for rooms and meeting and conference planning at the resort are available at (800) 848-8300 or 545-8530 and The Flamingo is located at 2777 4th Street in Santa Rosa. 

Silva’s first Salsa event was a fundraiser for the Kids Kingdom Orphanage in Ensenada, Mexico in 2000 inspired by her The Santa Rosa Junior College advisor Dr. Ezbon Jen who annually organized a trip to the area for volunteers among the student nurses and dental hygienists. In 2001, the opportunity to promote a Sunday night Salsa class at the Flamingo Conference Resort & Spa led to the founding of Santa Rosa Salsa marking its twelfth anniversary on Jan. 20. From 2006 to 2008 Santa Rosa Salsa produced an annual one-day Sonoma County Salsa Festival that went on hiatus due to the birth of Silva’s daughter and other professional interests that included Salsa Olé Dance Company with her husband Dr. Antonio Moran, O.D., expansion of her business to other dance venues, Bachata lessons, Latin dance boot camps, three adult Salsa and a Bachata dance companies, children's dance company, and working on expanding kids and teens program. Silva and her sister Maria Silva are opening a Spanish Immersion and Latin Arts private day school, La Casita Day School, for Kindergarten and 1st grade students on Feb. 4.
“Latin Arts education for people of all ages is a big part of who I am,” Silva says. “I am constantly looking for creative ways of expanding my vision.”