Crane 'Rumba & Romance' Concert Combines Art with Latin Music


Sounds and images of salsa will swirl together as the Crane Latin Ensemble and visual artist Amy Swartelé return for a collaborative performance in Sara M. Snell Music Theatre at SUNY Potsdam.

The “Rumba and Romance” concert will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 20 in Snell Theatre at the Crane School of Music, and will feature the Crane Latin Ensemble as well as guest visual artist Swartelé.

The program will blend Palladium classics, such as Arsenio Rodriguez’s “Llora Timbero,” and original compositions by band members. As they play, Swartelé will respond to the musical sounds, rhythms, textures and movement she hears by creating an artwork on canvas onstage. Her developing art piece will also be projected on a large screen behind the musicians.

“This is a favorite artistic collaboration and venue for us. Amy captures so vividly on canvas what's happening on stage,” Crane Latin Ensemble Director Marsha Baxter said.

The ensemble musicians are currently participants in a project called “On the Band Stand with Tito Puente.” The project will attempt to document, through multiple media, the experiences of both veteran musicians who played for decades under Tito Puente and young performers of the Crane Latin Ensemble, many of whose first in-depth Latin musical experience began as undergraduate students at SUNY Potsdam. The project hopes to weave the two story lines together and promote the education of Latin music, its culture and rich history for years to come.

In May 2010, the Crane Latin Ensemble performed as featured young artists hosted by the University of the Americas and the Mexican Tourism Bureau in Puebla, Mexico. They have also performed in concert with legendary Latin jazz trombonist Chris Washburne and Spanish Harlem Orchestra’s baritone saxophonist Mitch Frohman.

North Country Public Radio journalist Todd Moe writes, “It’s dynamic music from a group of talented young people who play their hearts and souls out."

Swartelé has exhibited in solo and group exhibitions throughout the USA, as well as in Belgium, France, Spain, Italy, India and Canada. Her most recent solo exhibits were in Montreal at the Kerozene Gallery and in Waterloo, Belgium at the SJS Gallery in 2009. Recent group exhibits include those at the Grand Palais in Paris, France, and a group exhibit in Lleida, Spain in 2008 where she was awarded the grand prize for figurative art.

The Crane Latin Ensemble is an auditioned musical group of voice, percussion, piano, guitar, brass and woodwind performers dedicated to performing Latin music. It is directed by Marsha Baxter, associate professor of music education at the Crane School of Music, as well as student directors Brian Lotze and Drew Coles.

This concert is free, and the public is invited to attend. For more information about the many free events on the SUNY Potsdam campus calendar, visit

Founded in 1886, SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music has a long legacy of excellence in music education and performance. Life at Crane includes an incredible array of more than 300 recitals, lectures and concerts presented by faculty, students and guests each year. The Crane School of Music is the State University of New York’s only All-Steinway institution.