Tito Puente, the King of Latin Jazz, was one of the most famous musicians in America prior to his death in 2000. The seven-time Grammy Award winner who wrote “Oye Como Va,” made famous by Carlos Santana, brought mambo and merengue to Middle America. Next Thursday night, his son, Tito Puente Jr., continues the family tradition. Puente Jr. joins the Grand Rapids Symphony’s D&W Fresh Market Picnic Pops for one-night only on Thursday, Aug. 2, for salsa, cha-cha-cha and a lot more.

The celebration of Latino music at Cannonsburg Ski Area follows last summer’s wildly successful special guest appearance by Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán, the world best mariachi band, with the Grand Rapids Symphony.

In the same era when Desi Arnaz was playing a conga-playing Cuban bandleader on TV’s “I Love Lucy,” Puente was playing Afro-Cuban jazz on timbales and other percussion instruments while fronting the Tito Puente Orchestra. The flamboyant band leader later appeared in films including The Mambo Kings and appeared on TV’s “Sesame Street” and “The Simpsons.”

Performing the original symphonic arrangements of his father, Puente Jr.’s shows take audiences on a musical journey back to the days of the Palladium Ballroom in New York City.

Picnic Pops single lawn tickets are $20 for adults ($25 day of show) or $5 for ages 2-18 ($10 day of show). MySymphony360 members can attend for $15 ($20 day of show).

Other individual tickets are $30 for reserved chairs ($35 the day of the show), $51 for individual table seats ($56 the day of the show), and $408 for a full table of eight ($448 day of show).

Active duty, reserve and National Guard members of the U.S. Military may purchase up to two tickets for $15 each ($20 day of show). Children younger than age 2 are admitted for free.


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