One of our recent assemblies featured a Cuban band that goes by the name, Conjunto Philadelphia. This Cuban band has, on piano, Jeff Torchon, one of the music teachers that teaches right on campus at Germantown Friends School. Also, not only is Jeff Torchon in the band, the other band members are people that he has met in his life. (Well, obviously he’s met the people before). Some of the players in the band are professors from Jeff’s time at Temple University. The rest of the people, that weren’t professors, are all friends of Jeff. Jeff founded the Conjunto Philadelphia in January 2010.
The Conjunto Philadelphia strictly plays Cuban Music. You may be wondering to yourself right now, Why would you ever start a Cuban band? It was an easy question for Jeff when I asked him this. The sixth graders in the Gondi homeroom have been watching a documentary about Cuban Music. Jeff watched it, too, but he was 16 at the time. When Jeff saw the documentary he instantly fell in love with the music, culture, and history. When Jeff watched it, he thought to himself, How can I understand better the culture that I just saw?
Not a lot of people know about Cuban Music. Jeff happened to be very lucky to find the people that accepted to be in Conjunto Philadelphia. “All except lead singer and percussionist are first and foremost Jazz performers,” says Jeff. He knew that they were all talented, and they agreed to play Cuban music with Jeff, so…Voila! A Cuban band was born.
You may be wondering right now if Cuban Music isn’t popular, How do they get paid? As with most gigs, some you are paid money, and some you aren’t (unless you are extremely famous).
No matter how many gigs they do or don’t get paid for, they seem thrilled just to perform and be playing the Cuban music that they love so much.