Minnesota continues to be a national leader in promoting our country’s reconciliation with Cuba. The latest participant in this campaign is the Minnesota Orchestra, which will play two concerts at Havana’s Teatro Nacional on Plaza de la Revolucion  on May 15 and 16.
At the invitation of the Cuban Ministry of Culture, Music Director Osmo Vänskä and the Orchestra will play Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy with the Cuban National Choir and Cuban pianist Frank Fernandez. The also will perform Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3, Eroica, and other numbers to be announced.
These concerts will be part of the 19th annual Cubadisco Festival, which also encompasses one of the most important recording competitions in Cuba. The focus this season is symphonic and choral music. The Orchestra also will participate in community engagement activities.
The Orchestra will be the first U.S. orchestra to visit the island nation since President Obama’s December 17th announcement of steps to re-establish diplomatic relations with Cuba.
The Orchestra’s Concertmaster Erin Keefe said, “We are humbled to be a part of the exciting process of reestablishing America’s cultural ties with the nation of Cuba. This tour represents a unique chance to bring two cultures together through music, and we could not be more grateful for the opportunity.”
Now I will solicit the Orchestra members to participate in Minnesotans for U.S.-Cuba Reconciliation.
 The Plaza is the 31st largest public square in the world; it measures 72,000 square meters (774,936 square feet) and has been the site for crowds of 1 million for major speeches by Fidel Castro and for a mass celebrated by Pope John Paul II.