The popular Latin music group Buyepongo went on a mini-tour of Lompoc Unified School District on Wednesday, energizing and perhaps even inspiring many students along the way.

The Los Angeles-based band, which has been described as having a fusion of Latino, African and American sounds, managed a triple-header with performances during assemblies at La Honda STEAM Academy, La Cañada Elementary School and Lompoc High School.

The performances focused on music, as well as diversity and multiculturalism.

Lompoc High teacher Bree Jansen, who coordinated the band’s visit to Lompoc High through the Arts & Lectures program at UCSB, said she was excited to have the group visit LHS, where it performed in front of about 350 students enrolled in visual and performing arts classes at the school.

“As a department, we are always looking for opportunities to bring professionals into the classroom as we feel it reinforces the topics, principles, and standards that we are teaching our students,” Jansen said. “In this case, it was also a great opportunity for our students of Latin descent to be able to relate to the guest artists and think, ‘That could be me out there.’”

Jansen said she was unfamiliar with the band prior to the performance and that she and the other teachers involved were unsure about how the students would respond. It didn’t take long, she said, for their apprehension to subside.

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“Their enthusiasm was instantaneous once the band started playing,” she said of the students. “They were clapping their hands and bouncing in their seats to the beat, and about 30 seconds later, they started trickling down to the gym floor to dance. Ultimately, a group of at least 100 students were dancing.”

Jansen said that several students personally thanked her afterward for helping to bring the band to the school.

Lompoc High Principal Paul Bommersbach echoed those students’ gratitude.

“Anytime we can give our students the opportunity to get in front of music and the arts, the better,” he said. “Many students do not get this chance to witness live music and expression, so I want to thank Bree Jansen for bringing Buyepongo to LHS.”

This report was prepared by Willis Jacobson. He can be reached at wjacobson@leecentralcoastnews.com.

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