WGBY presents Presencia, a celebration of Hispanic heritage

Date: 7/31/2014

SPRINGFIELD – WGBY, Public Television for Western New England, invites the community to Presencia, a fun fall fiesta to celebrate the diversity of Hispanic Heritage in western New England. 
This second annual event will take place Sept. 26 at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and will benefit WGBY’s Community Engagement activities in the Latino Community.
Every element of this event is designed to showcase the diversity of Hispanic heritage in western New England. The food, the music and the dancing will represent Hispanic cultures ranging from Peruvian to Mexican, to Central American and the Caribbean.
Presencia kicks-off with a reception catered by Max’s Tavern at 5 p.m., followed by dinner prepared by chefs serving signature tasting dishes based on his or her heritage. Featured restaurants include La Veracruzana, Salsa’s Salvadorean, Frontera Grill, Parrilladas Y Sabores (Columbian), Latinos Kitchen, Salsa Rengue (Puerto Rico) and La Casita Azteca.
Guests will enjoy live entertainment and dancing to the exotic beat of The Presencia All Star Ensemble, under the direction of Heshima. The orchestra brings together the region’s most talented musicians who share a love of Latin music from jazz to dance. The magic of this ensemble is guaranteed to bring everyone to his or her feet to dance on center court at the Hall of Fame.
One of the evening’s highlights will be the Latin Dance Challenge, featuring representatives from sponsors, program funders and partners paired with members of the WGBY Latino Advisory Board.  Dancing and the Dance Challenge are open to beginners and experienced dancers alike, and to get everyone ready WGBY will offer a special series of dance classes beginning in late July.
Marie Waechter, director of Community Relations and Events at WGBY, encourages supporters to not only dance but to join us in other ways.
“We invite donors to help through sponsorship of one of the event elements and the important work that WGBY is doing in our local community,” she added.
Those interested in taking the challenge should contact Waechter or WGBY Corporate Support at 781-2801.
“Presencia brings the Pioneer Valley together to celebrate the diversity of Latino foods, cultures, and music. More importantly, it is an opportunity to learn about the fastest growing community in Greater Springfield,” said one of last year’s participants, Arlene Rodriguez, Springfield Technical Community College dean of the  School of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences.  “To me the Dance Challenge is the best part of the evening. Music and dance are such integral parts of our culture. Supporting the dance challenge is a very fun way of supporting WBGY and its commitment to serving the community.”
Tickets and information including a photo gallery from the 2013 Presencia are available now at www.wgby.org/presencia. Presencia is made possible in part through a grant from Baystate Health.