Miami ARTS Night poetry impresses

If you missed “Miami ARTS Night,” you missed an amazing performance. The lights dimmed onto Gonzalo Gonzalez, the organizer of the event, as he welcomed the audience of students, professors and community members.

Beginning the show was a believable Miami-style monologue. Playing off on the bilingual nature of Miami life, “The Miami Commute,” written by Rebekah Voss and performed by Diane Zelenka, captured the audience’s attention. Voss’ writing filled the evening’s program, and each of her works deserve praise. Her talent of singing accompanied her words to the song “You’re Not Mine,” composed by Raina Murnak. Gonzalez offered his talents of composition and piano. His work, “Duo for Solo Cello and Dancer,” was playful and moving. Jessica Linick choreographed the piece and danced.

Later in the program he showcased his exceptional improvisation abilities in “Improversion,” composed by Jennifer Post. Improversion incorporated improvisation on the piano with certain keys linked to text. As a certain key was played, a line of text sounded. The pianist could control the sound not only musically but also lyrically.

A project of music and video, “Our Scheme,” was played, with music composed by Garrett Shatzer. Two performances of spoken word were also showcased. Brent Johnson performed his works, “If” and “The Fallout,” which had a rap feel to them and the latter piece focused on the tsunami victims. Janet Tamez, a soulful Latina, performed three pieces: “Sunday Cleaning,” “La Morenita” and “Ms. Iris Chacon.” Accompanied by Geneva Harrison on the conga, Tamez performed her poetry with a shake in her hips, and included English and Spanish in her works.

Tamez is working on developing a poetry slam organization at UM, and her performance displayed the creative ability to build a competitive group. Closing the show was a large performance, “The Transformation,” with music by Peter McDonald, story by Mary McDonald and choreography by Jessica Linick and Georgia Ross. The piece included multiple instruments and a dance performance by both choreographers. Later, Gonzalez said, “My composition colleagues are already talking about their plans to revive the concert for next year. I hope the concert continues to develop each year.”

Gonzalez should be commended on organizing the event which should have been created years ago. He expressed his desire to incorporate visual artists into the program, which hopefully will occur next year. Look for “Miami ARTS Night” in 2006; you don’t want to miss it.

Aj Sarcione can be contacted at