In the bayside town of Cienfuegos, there's plenty to get excited about, whether the waterfront promenade that's perfect for jogging or the petite sculpture garden across the street featuring contemporary, and sometimes whimsical, works in various media. A giant dragonfly fashioned out of metal wire and a crimson hued rhinoceros are just two of more than a dozen creative pieces that beckon to be inspected. (Curious that so few people visit this artistic enclave.)
But, perhaps the most enthralling thing about Cienfuegos was my visit to the Museo Historico Provincial one evening to attend the performance of Cantores de Cienfuegos, a versatile, 23-member choral group. Under the direction of Honey Moreira Abreu, who became their conductor originally as part of Cuba's required community service and loved it so much that she stayed on, the choir has an eclectic repertoire, singing everything from Renaissance to Japanese fisherman's folk music.
Listening to them even for a few moments, you can't help be impressed. But it's no wonder they can perform at this stellar level: they practice for three hours every day. In fact, singing in the choir is their job -- though some may take on a second job -- with the oldest member performing with them for 20+ years and the youngest, a mere five months.