FREE CONCERT 9/27: The Youth Orchestra of Caracas @ Crotona Park Amphitheater

This Sunday, September 27 at 4:00 pm the Youth Orchestra of Caracas will perform a free concert –A Concert of Hope: Venezuela in the Bronx– at the Amphitheater in Crotona Park, the Bronx.


A Concert of Hope — Venezuela in the Bronx celebrates the 10 years of solidarity and brotherhood between Venezuela and the Bronx.  The free concert sponsored by CITGO Petroleum Corporation and PDVSA allows Bronxites to enjoy one of the orchestras of Venezuela’s National System of Youth and Children’s Orchestras and Choirs. Directed by conductor Dietrich Paredes, their melodic interpretations of a varied classical repertoire and added Latin selections will entertain Bronx audiences of all ages.

A CITGO representative said, “We at CITGO are particularly excited about sponsoring this event as it marks the tenth year of Venezuela’s significant relationship with the South Bronx community.”  When the late President Hugo Chavez visited the South Bronx in 2005, he began a dialogue of people to people cooperation and the solidarity of the people of Venezuela with this community has been expressed through the CITGO-Venezuela Heating Oil Program and the Bronx Social and Environmental Grants Program.

“For almost a decade we have invested more than $9.6 million in grants to South Bronx-based organizations, benefiting more than 200,000 people in this community once known as the poorest congressional district of the United States, added the CITGO spokesperson.

Paul Lipson, a founder of The Point CDC, described the grants program as a “fairly durable relationship where some of the proceeds from CITGO’s economic activity flowed back to the Bronx.” Organizations such as The Point CDC were able to do pioneering community initiatives such as the North Brother Island public access project that was initially funded by CITGO before other philanthropies came aboard.

“A Concert of Hope: Venezuela in the Bronx” allows us to celebrate this important milestone of solidarity and unity, while offering a unique opportunity for the community to experience an unforgettable performance by one of the orchestras of Venezuela’s world-renown, National System of Youth Orchestras and Choirs, El Sistema,” continued the CITGO statement.

Bronx Congressman Jose Serrano was instrumental in bringing President Chavez to the Bronx in September 2005. Serrano recalled that what was supposed to be an hourlong meeting with representatives of community-based organizations turned into a three and one-half hour visit. “President Chavez had very personal and long conversations as he got to know everyone,” said Serrano.

Serrano reminded his interlocutor that the heating oil program started in the Bronx in 2005 and has since expanded to 25 U.S. states under the supervision of former Congressman Joseph P. Kennedy II and his non-profit Citizens Energy Corporation. Serrano said President Chavez came to him saying “I have home heating oil that I don’t need in Venezuela and why don’t we assist these groups with low-cost fuel.”  As a result, a nonprofit agency like Mount Hope Housing Company was able to invest its fuel savings in boiler repairs and use the grants to fund weatherization projects.

“All in all, the Venezuela-Bronx relationship has been beneficial,” concluded Rep. Serrano.

The Crotona Park Amphitheater located near the intersection Claremont Pkwy & Crotona Ave. The closest subway station is 174th Street at Boston Road serving the IRT 2 & 5 trains.


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