Jorge Remembers

I studied guitar for 5 years with professor Jose Antonio Contreras in Bogota. I started when I was 10. I also sang with the choir and "Tuna" of my school. In 1984, I joined the choir of the parish. With the people of the choir, I performed in different churches and participated in two contests of Catholic music for which I composed two songs. We also organized three concerts of Latin American music where we were the hosts, performing and sharing the stage with other musician friends of ours.

In 1985, I studied singing with singer Stella Bejarano. Between 1987 and 1990, I studied solfege, the history of music, voice and harmony with maestros Guillermo Rendon Garcia and Anielka Gelemour. From 1990 and 1993 I studied jazz, harmony, composition and orchestration with maestro Ricardo Marquez. I have sung in different music ensembles: Amanecer, Epoca, Cuarteto de los Cinco, Des-concierto and most recently Atardecer, with whom I recorded a CD. We have always played Colombian and Latin American music.

I was the director of the choir in Bogota for 8 years (1984-1992), which was a catholic parish choir. We always sang the 7 pm mass, and the priest who used to say it was Carlos Sierra, the delegate of the Colombian Episcopal Youth Conference. One year, I do not remember which one, he traveled to the US to study Psychology at Duquesne University before going to Africa in a mission. Carlos met Paul, and when he found out that Paul sings, he told him about the youth choir in Bogota. They became very good friends. Through Carlos, Paul met some members of the choir who are living in the US, and one of them was Olga Lucia. "Oogie" is one of my best friends. One day seven or eight years ago, she told me, "Jorge, I have an American friend who is like you: he sings nice and teaches. I want you both to be friends." So we became pen pals.

In 2004, Olga and Paul invited me to visit them in NYC and Pittsburgh. I came and shared great moments of music and friendship with both of them. Being here on vacations, my Colombian and American friends said, "Jorge, you are working a lot and that University does not value enough. Why do not you come and try to get a new life here, with new opportunities. It will take time, but you will succeed." I took 7 months to finish things in Bogota and to make arrangements to come. We started play in Pittsburgh formally when invited to perform at the Colombian Independence day, and you know the rest of the story...

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