Salty Paw Jazz Orchestra
FUN FACT (or fable) ABOUT
THE SALTY PAW NAME
In the 1950s, it was common that children in Puerto Vallarta didn't wear shoes until they were about 10 years old. This is why now people born in Puerto Vallarta are called pata salada. Pata salada actually means “salty foot,” and this phrase is used to refer to those from the coast who get their feet salty from the ocean.
The Salty Paw Jazz Orchestra was founded in September 2016 by Christopher J. Flores (AKA Kris) with his own funds! Chris was a one man band! He did everything - in addition to teaching classes, directing rehearsals and lining up concerts - he located free classroom spaces, rehearsal spaces, music history information, music theory materials, sheet music, sound equipment for concerts, got musical instruments donated for the kids. He recruited students, wrote press releases, concert programs, and promotional material. He designed a cool logo for the Salty Paw Jazz Orchestra - for banners, promotion items, concert programs and T-shirts. He laid out his own money to invest in T-shirts to raise money. He was incredibly generous as his income as a gigging musician was very modest - and this means he was working and not a bum. His dedication to the Salty Paw Jazz Orchestra at one point meant he spent so much of his own money on the Salty Paws, he did not have enough for food. He was losing weight.
The Salty Paws gave frequent concerts, most of them free. Chris' classes were free - he knew his students could not afford to pay. The socio-economic group he served is vulnerable to bad influences and Chris' program gave the kids something constructive, character-building and fun to do. Chris also gave music lessons - his main instruments are clarinet, bass clarinet, flute, alto sax and tenor sax.
Some of his students have progressed to the point of getting professional gigs. Other students, thanks to Chris' influence and tutelage, have decided to make music their life's work with the goal of becoming professional musicians or composers.
During this time, Chris played in a flute ensemble led by Andrea Jupina. He contributed his time and talent to Ensemble rehearsals and played in the flute ensemble fundraising concert. Chris also played in the Puerto Vallarta Chamber Orchestra (roots of the actual Orquesta Sinfonica Vallarta), another volunteer group, conducted by Daniel Oliveros, who has been the head of Instituto de Artes Musicales Puerto Vallarta (IAMPV) for many years.
A major accomplishment was the Salty Paws' performance at the International Jazz Festival at el Faro (the lighthouse) on Puerto Vallarta's Malecon, a concert hosted by sister city Highland Park, Illinois on February 16 & 17, 2018. A video of the entire concert is on Facebook - the Salty Paw Jazz Orchestra page.
On May 21, 2018, the Salty Paw Jazz Orchestra was truly honored to be invited to perform at May Fest, Puerto Vallarta's Centennial celebration.
Christopher Flores has always been a very hard working community member, contributing extensively to education and the cultural life of Puerto Vallarta, generously giving of himself and his personal financial resources.
Where does the money go?
The mission of the International Friendship Club is to promote friendship and enrichment for members, raise and distribute funds for charitable giving and provide volunteer service in response to the medical, humanitarian, and educational needs in Jalisco, Mexico. In addition to our ongoing support of IAMPV, the International Friendship Club helps 15 other organizations in the area, including the following:
· Vallarta Abuelos – helping at-risk kids in the 5 de diciembre neighborhood
· Refugio Infantil de la Esperanza (RISE) – children’s shelter
· Casa Hogar Maximo Cornejo – children’s shelter
· Volcanes Kids’ Education Project – keeping kids in school in the Volcanes district
· Cuidando Con Amor- itinerant medical, dental nutritional help outside of central Vallarta
· Pasitos de Luz/Casa Connor Rehabilitation Center
· Biblioteca Los Mangos – the only library in Vallarta, solely reliant on private funding
· Vallarta School for Girls – supporting girls’ education in 5 de diciembre area
· Huichol Scholarship Fund – post secondary financial aid to indigenous students
· Aid for Families of Children with Cancer
· Apoyo a la Mujer con Cancer (Bennu) – aid for women with cancer
· Santa Barbara Physical Rehabilitation Clinic
· ALAS Escuela de Canto - WINGS School of Song
International Friendship Club has conducted and paid for countless clinics and surgeries of children born with cleft lips or palates. Currently we are in need of a paediatric cranial facial plastic surgeon who would be willing to help us continue this important work.
If you know of anyone, please contact Sydney Clark.