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Stowe festival spreads the joy of tango

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Everyone should know about the tango, and enjoy it. That’s the mission of the Stowe Tango Music Festival, which opens Wednesday, Aug. 19, and runs through the weekend of Aug. 22-23.

New this year is the Che Bandoneon Competition, which is expected to draw bandoneon players internationally. The bandoneon, a type of concertina, is an essential instrument in most tango ensembles. The instrument is particularly popular in Argentina and Uruguay, and in the folk music of Lithuania.

Hector Del Curto, one of the world’s greatest bandoneon players, is the festival leader, and his wife — cellist Jisoo Ok — and child — 7-year-old clarinetist Santiago Del Curto — will also perform a piece written by Santiago’s great-grandfather, Argentine composer Luis Del Curto.

Del Curto founded the festival to show more people what the tango is about, and to tell the 100-year-old tango story — a culture of music, dance, art and community events.

The 30-musician festival orchestra includes world-renowned tango musicians and talented students attending a two-week musicians’ residence program. Del Curto and Ok are on the faculty; other faculty members are Sami Merdinian, violin; Pedro Giraudo, double bass; and Gustavo Casenava, piano.

Details of the festival:

• All Things Argentina on Wednesday, Aug. 19, 3 p.m., at River Arts, 74 Pleasant St., Morrisville. Free. Learn to make traditional Argentinean empanadas at 3 p.m. Introductory tango dance class with Alicia Cruzado at 6 p.m., followed by a milonga (dance party) with live music. 

• Open tango jam session Thursday, Aug. 20, 7 p.m., Mountain Road Resort, 1007 Mountain Road, Stowe. Free. All instrumentalists and dancers welcome to tango.

• Festival concert Friday, Aug. 21, 7:30 p.m., Stowe Community Church, 137 Main St.; $10 advance, $15 at door. Hector Del Curto leads his Tango Quintet and the Stowe Tango Music Festival Orchestra, playing both New Tango and music from the Golden Age of Tango to New Tango.

• Tango Trail on Saturday, Aug. 22, 1-4 p.m., at various locations in Stowe village. Free. Music and dance, plus an introductory tango dance class. Everyone welcome. Locations include the gazebo in front of the Stowe Free Library/Helen Day Art Center, the front porch of the Akeley Memorial Building at 67 Main St., and the Stowe Visitor Information Center.

• Stowe Tango Music Festival Milonga (dance party) on Saturday, Aug. 22, at 7 p.m. at the Rusty Nail, 1190 Mountain Road, Stowe. Free. Tango dance class at 7 p.m., then a milonga at 8 p.m., with live music by the Hector Del Curto Tango Quintet and the Stowe Tango Music Festival Orchestra.

• Farewell celebration and the finals of the first Che Bandoneon Competition on Sunday, Aug. 23, 2 to 6 p.m., at Palais de Glace, 3419 Weeks Hill Road, Stowe. Tickets: $30. Includes award ceremony, a showcase concert, and a milonga.

• Art exhibit for the tango festival Aug. 19-22 at River Arts, 74 Pleasant St., Morrisville, and at Stoweflake Mountain Resort, 1746 Mountain Road, Stowe. The artworks were inspired by tango. Artists include Vicky Barranguet and Daniel Brandimarte.

Packages offered to dancers, auditors

People who want to either dance the tango or just learn more about the tango can buy package deals from the Stowe Tango Music Festival.

Dancer package: a musicality workshop with award-winning Argentine tango dancers Ana Padron and Diego Blanco and bassist Pedro Giraudo, one tango boot-camp class with Ana and Diego, a 
Friday concert (Aug. 21) featuring the Hector Del Curto Tango Quintet and Festival Orchestra, the Friday after-concert milonga 
and the Saturday festival milonga, with live music by the 30-musician Stowe Tango Music Festival Orchestra.

Auditors packages: Observe experienced artists working with students. The auditor pass includes the Friday concert (Aug. 21), rehearsals, coaching, master classes, workshops and lunch. Information on either package:

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