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Hispanic Heritage Council relaunches music program for kids

The guitar initiative starts Monday, September 27
Posted at 6:07 AM, Sep 22, 2021

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — All month long the Hispanic Heritage Council of WNY, Inc. is celebrating with events and so many of those are centered around music. As part of celebrations this month, the council is relaunching a free program just for kids.

“Salsa, Meringue, Bachata, Cumbia, Mambo you name it. All of these genres express something. That’s what we want to show the community," said Esmeralda Sierra, President, Hispanic Heritage Council of WNY, Inc.

Whether it’s playing from a car speaker driving down Niagara street or from inside the Isaias Gonzalez Soto library, you can’t separate music from Hispanic communities.

"It accompanies us in every part of our life, we don’t understand life without music," said Ricardo Saeb, Chair of the Council's Guitar Initiative.

Saeb has been playing music since he was a teenager in Mexico. When he moved to buffalo three years ago, his goal was to give back.

"I always wanted to do something for children to make it accessible for them to have music in their lives and that’s what the guitar initiative is about,” said Saeb.

Ricardo Saeb wants to teach children how to play music with this free program
Ricardo Saeb wants to teach children how to play music with this free program

The Guitar Initiative is the Hispanic Heritage Council's free program for kids that started in 2019, but was quickly halted by the pandemic. They moved online, but couldn’t come together or host concerts.

Now it’s relaunching in person next week—with two different classes. One where students learn the basics and another where students build their instruments.

"Real musical instruments that they can play out of recycled materials. Guitars, banjos, flutes, all sorts of instruments," said Saeb.

Saeb will teach kids how to build and play their own instruments
Saeb will teach kids how to build and play their own instruments

The goal is to bring music into kids' lives as a way to help their learning and their mental health.

They provide all of the materials, including guitars for the classes and it’s all free. That first year they had 11 children making music together, for this year’s relaunch they want it to be even bigger.

"Even though we’re launching this initiative through the Hispanic Heritage Council, this is for everybody in WNY we want everybody to take advantage of this," said Saeb.

This program is one of the first that will take place in the Hispanic Heritage Cultural Institute when that's open in 2024.

Classes are Monday and Wednesdays for kids ages 12-14 at Isaias Gonzalez-Soto Library at the corner of Niagara and Porter Streets.

The building music program is on Thursdays for kids ages 10-12 from 4-6pm.

To register for classes, email hhc.guitar@gmail.com.

Here's the list of Hispanic Heritage Events left for the month:

  • Friday, Sept. 24
    • A Conversation with Buffalo's Latinx Community
      • UB North Campus Student Union Theater
      • 12:00pm
  • Saturday, Sept. 25
    • BPO Quartet Community Days
      • Frank A. Sedita Academy 10:30am
      • Herman Badillo Bilingual Academy 11:30am
    • Hispanic Heritage at Roycroft Campus
      • 31 S. Grove St. East Aurora
      • 2:00pm
  • Wednesday, Sept. 29 & Oct. 6th
    • Kaleida Health Hispanic Heritage events
    • BGMC, 11:00am
    • Suburban, 12:00pm
    • Oishei, 2:00pm
  • Friday, October 1
    • Folk Art Fridays
      • 130 Main St., Buffalo, 10:00am
    • Amherst Celebrates Hispanic Heritage
      • Amherst Audubon Senior Center, 6:00pm
  • Saturday, October 2
    • Liga de Mujeres Hispanas Scholarship & Community Awards Brunch Celebration
      • 2192 Niagara St, Buffalo, 10:00am
    • Documentary: The Borinqueneers U.S. Army 65th Infantry Regiment
      • Buffalo Erie County Naval and Military Park, Hangar Building, 2:30pm
  • Saturday, October 9
    • HHC Community Engagement Day
      • HHCI Site, Corner of Niagara and Hudson Streets, 1:00pm
    • Creative Nature Walk
      • Tifft Nature Preserve, 2:00pm
  • Tuesday, October 12
    • Hispanic Heritage Month Concert
      • Kleinhans Mary Seaton Room, 7:00pm
  • Wednesday, October 13
    • Conversations in Science: Latinx Lead Environmental Justice
      • Virtual Event, 6:00pm