Category Archives: ¿Qué pasa, CHC?



Goizueta Fellows: In Their Own Words

Starting this summer the Cuban Heritage Collection welcomes ten emerging scholars into the Goizueta Foundation Graduate Fellowships Program. We are proud to introduce each of our 2016-2017 Goizueta Fellows throughout the course of the program.

Thanks to Melissa Bumbach for taking part in the first interview of the series. Melissa will discuss her work in a CHC Research Colloquium on Wednesday, June 29, 3 p.m., at CHC’s Roberto C. Goizueta Pavilion. All are welcome to attend this presentation.

About Melissa Bumbach

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Goizueta Fellow Melissa Bumbach is pursuing her Doctorate of Musical Arts in Choral Conducting at the University of Miami Frost School of Music.

Melissa Bumbach is a teaching assistant at the University of Miami Frost School of Music where she is pursuing her Doctorate of Musical Arts in Choral Conducting with a cognate in music education. She has been awarded two research grants to fund dissertation research in Cuba and the U.S. Previously, she was the choral director at Howard Middle School in Marion County, Florida, where she was named the 2012 Howard Middle School Teacher of the Year and awarded a $10,000 grant for her choral program from the TV show Glee and the National Association for Music Education. She went on to be named the 2012 Marion County Teacher of the Year. Melissa is also a professional vocal soloist and choral singer and has recorded with Gloria Estefan and sung the National Anthem at the 2016 CNN Republican Presidential Debate in Miami, FL. Melissa received her master’s degree in choral conducting at the University of South Florida, where was the Graduate Conducting Apprentice for the Master Chorale of Tampa Bay. She received her bachelor’s degree in music education from Palm Beach Atlantic University.

What university/program are you from?

University of Miami Frost School of Music, pursuing a Doctorate of Musical Arts in Choral Conducting

What are you working on?

I am conducting an oral history of Dr. Digna Guerra, the director of the National Choir of Cuba since 1975, for my dissertation. Chamber choirs from the National Choir of Cuba have recently performed at the baseball game attended by U.S. President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raúl Castro as well as with the Rolling Stones.

What do you expect to find at the CHC?

The Cuban Heritage Collection contains the Manuel Ochoa papers. Manuel Ochoa, a well-known choral and orchestral conductor, was Dr. Guerra’s conducting teacher in Cuba in the 1960s. I hope to find materials from Dr. Guerra’s time under Manuel Ochoa’s direction. I also hope to find materials related to Dr. Guerra’s many choral performances and professional recognitions in Cuba and internationally.

How can we learn more about your research?

I will be talking about my project in a CHC Research Colloquium* on Wednesday, June 29, 3 p.m. at the Roberto C. Goizueta Pavilion.

*Colloquia are free and open to the public. Contact us at chc@miami.edu for more information.

About the Goizueta Foundation Graduate Fellowships Program

The Goizueta Foundation Graduate Fellowships Program provides assistance to doctoral students who wish to use the research resources available in the University of Miami Cuban Heritage Collection (CHC) in support of dissertation research. The goal of these fellowships is to engage emerging scholars with the materials available in the Cuban Heritage Collection and thus contribute to the larger body of scholarship in Cuban, hemispheric, and international studies.

For more information about fellowship opportunities to study at the Cuban Heritage Collection or to learn about past fellows, click here.



Summer Hours

The Collection’s summer hours remain the same as during the academic year, please see below.

However, the department will be closed on Monday, May 30th and Monday, July 4th in observance of Memorial Day and 4th of July, respectively.

Please email us at chc@miami.edu with any questions.

CHC Regular Hours

Monday 9am – 4pm
Tuesday 9am – 4pm
Wednesday 9am – 7pm
Thursday 9am – 4pm
Friday 9am – 4pm
Saturday Closed
Sunday Closed


Collection Highlights: Music Papers

The Cuban Heritage Collection has created a research guide to its archive of music-related documents, distributed in more than 40 collections of papers and/or recordings of musicians, singers, composers, music scholars and music amateurs in Cuba and the diaspora. A wealth of books and various types of published materials on Cuban music from the early colonial times to the present are also available in the Collection. A database of music scores in the CHC is available in the Scores Database tab within the guide.

Featured image: Beny Moré (left), Abelardo Barroso (center) and Rolando Laserie at Los Jardines de la Tropical, Havana, April 26, 1958.

Featured image: Beny Moré (left), Abelardo Barroso (center) and Rolando Laserie at Los Jardines de la Tropical, Havana, April 26, 1958.



Objects in the Archive: Now on Display

objectsArchive_FINAL-withBlurb_webby Sarah Block, Library Communications

The exhibition features materials that highlight how the physical characteristics of objects can provide insightful clues about the past and inform the present.

Curated by Meiyolet Méndez, interim chair of the Cuban Heritage Collection, and Dr. Martin Tsang, UM Libraries CLIR Postdoctoral Fellow in History and Area Studies, Objects in the Archive includes three-dimensional objects related to education, industry, and religion in Cuba from the Collection and outside materials. They span commodities and marketing materials from the tobacco industry, Republic-era educational memorabilia, creative works such as artist’s books from Cuba’s Vigía collective, and a rich variety of religious objects.

Tsang, a former CHC Graduate Fellow, culled religious ornaments and sculpture, many from the Lydia Cabrera Papers, that document influences of Afro-Cuban religion on the island and largely informed his own doctoral work.

“As an anthropologist I’m very interested in these material objects that remain and the inspiration, symbolism, and value that is given to and contained in these materials.” In his ethnographic fieldwork Tsang, who is also an initiated Lukumí priest, has also studied Afro-Cuban religion in both Cuba and on our doorstep through interviews and objects including religious icons and Afro-Atlantic beaded art.

“In some cases,” he explains, “objects have their own lives. A sculpture, such as that of a deity, can be as meaningful in a person’s life far beyond the concept of an inanimate object, taking on its own biography.”

One such object, a cement figure with cowrie shell features honoring the deity Elegua, is featured in the exhibition courtesy of Biscayne National Park, where it was originally found and is part of a larger religious use study that Dr. Tsang has conducted there. “The materials used and the way it’s created offer insights about origins of time and place, and broader cultural patterns and mobility.”

Objects in the Archive is on view through August 2016.









Author Examines Cuban TV’s Remarkable History

By Peter E. Howard, UM News

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Historian Yeidy M. Rivero credits the CHC for igniting her passion for examining commercial television in Cuba.

An imposing figure who liked the sound of his own voice, the uniform-clad revolutionary frequently promoted his political objectives on television. Sometimes his speeches went on for as long as eight hours, without a commercial break.When he came to power in Cuba in 1959, Fidel Castro wasted little time taking to the airwaves.

At the time, the television stations were privately owned, and it wasn’t until a year to 18 months later that the government took over. It knew the power of the medium back then, and used it to its advantage.

“Castro was marketing the revolution,” said Yeidy M. Rivero, author of the book Broadcasting Modernity, which examines the history of commercial television in Cuba from 1950 to 1960. “He was very charismatic, and he used it perfectly well.”

Rivero, a professor at the University of Michigan, was at the University of Miami’s Otto G. Richter Library Wednesday night to talk about her book, and engage the audience gathered in the Cuban Heritage Collection’s Roberto C. Goizueta Pavilion in a discussion about the birth of commercial television in Cuba during a period of political and economic upheaval.

It was a homecoming of sorts for the historian. Rivero credits the research she did at the Cuban Heritage Collection at UM Libraries for igniting her passion for the project. From day one, she recalled, she was provided a daily cafecito to enjoy – “with plenty of sugar.”

“I feel like this is part of my family,” Rivero shared.

Cuba’s history with television is remarkable, with the island nation at the cutting edge of production and programming from the beginning. Talented employees helped advance the products. Some fled Cuba because of the instability, enriching television production in other Latin American countries, including Venezuela and Puerto Rico.

Cuba, Rivero said, was the first country in Latin America to have color television, and second in the world to feature it after the United States.

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Broadcasting Modernity: Cuban Commercial Television, 1950-1960, published by Duke University Press in 2015.

Rivero added that she has always been “fascinated by the popularity of the medium,” and began researching commercial television in Cuba about a decade ago. She read every newspaper and magazine article she could find on television in Cuba, and was pleasantly surprised to find detailed analyses in documents at the Biblioteca Nacional José Martí Centro de Investigaciones del Instituto Cubano de Radio y Televisión in Havana.

Early television in Cuba, she said, was used to convey the country as modern, emerging, economically successful, educated, and morally sound. Some rumba dances were censored on television because they were deemed too risqué.

“When I began my research,” Rivero said, “I had no idea what I would find.”

Photos by Brittney Bomnin.



CHC Hours Update

The CHC will have modified hours during the week of September 7-11. Please note the following holiday and early closure:

  • Monday, September 7: Closed for Labor Day
  • Wednesday, September 9: The CHC Reading Room will be closed all day in preparation for the event Broadcasting Modernity: Cuban Commercial Television, 1950-1960. Researchers will still be able to access and receive assistance from the Conference Room from 9 a.m. through 4 p.m.

For more information, please visit our Hours & Directions page.