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Portuguese cultural class starts Jan. 6 at MRPS Hall

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POSTED December 26, 2009 1:43 a.m.
MRPS Hall in Manteca will be the new meeting place for the next Portuguese cultural class starting on Jan. 6.

However, to sign up for the class and to reserve a seat, you have to go to Delicato Family Vineyards.

Delicato’s involvement solved a major problem for Mary Gomes Del Pino, instructor of this popular class which has been offered a number of times in the past year at different venues in Manteca and Tracy.

After a very successful triple run at the Manteca Senior Center where the class was offered through the Manteca Parks and Recreation Department, Gomes Del Pino was finally able to get approval from the MRPS Committee to hold her class at their facility on Grant Street in downtown Manteca.

That was fine and dandy. But there was only problem as far as Gomes Del Pino was concerned: an easily convenient place for would-be students to sign up “because the MRPS Hall is not open all the time,” she said.

Enter community-minded Dorothy Indelicato and her daughter Marie Mathews. Upon learning about her dilemma and without being asked, “Dorothy offered to help” by making their winery facilities at the Highway 99 Frontage Road available for student sign-ups, Gomes Del Pino said with a sigh of relief. They have the class forms available in the winery’s Tasting Room, and those interested in signing up can simply fill out the papers there, submit the entry form and pay the entry fee of $50 per person at the same time, all at the same place.

The nine-session class will meet on Wednesdays from 6 to 8 p.m. at the MRPS Hall starting on Jan. 6 with the last session held on March 3. Class size is limited so seats will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis.

Gomes Del Pino has had three successful classes offered at the Manteca Senior Center. Two of them were offered to seniors during the daytime, and one session in the evening for all ages which was held through the auspices of the Manteca Parks and Recreation.

Gomes Del Pino would have liked to have offered the next class at the Senior Center, but the place is “so busy” with many activities going on all the time that it was hard for them to get a permanent room to meet for the nine-week duration. Several times, the class had to be moved to a different meeting room, Gomes Del Pino said.

There won’t be any of those inconveniences at the MRPS Hall, Gomes Del Pino said. The class will be meeting in the same room – in the capella or chapel  – for all the nine sessions.

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One does not necessarily have to be of Portuguese descent to take the class, Gomes Del Pino said. She said the class is open to anyone over 14 years of age who wishes to “refresh their Portuguese culture or any other person who would like to know more about the Portuguese culture. I have many people I my class that are not Portuguese,” she said.

Each class session will have a different topic for discussion including Portuguese specialties (dairy and deep-sea fishing of whales and tuna), the Portuguese “festas” with special focus on FESM (Festa do Espiritu Santo de Manteca) and MRPS (Manteca-Ripon Pentecost Society) which are the two dominant Portuguese organizations in this area, Portuguese cuisine (there will be potlock), learning about chamarita and how to dance the chamarita (“let me show you how,” Gomes Del Pino said), plus learning basic Portuguese. There will be a review of the islands of Corvo, Faial, Flores, Graciosa, Pico, San Jorge, San Miguel, Santa Maria and Terceira.

Gomes Del Pino said the class is conducted in a lively informal manner, especially during the potluck featuring different Portuguese dishes and when the students learn how to dance the chamarita. In fact, in one class, Dorothy Indelicato’s mother, sprite nonagenarian Mary Cardoza, happily showed to the rest of the class how to dance the chamarita, Gomes Del Pino said.

The $50 class fee will include all study materials, the potluck and the chamarita lesson.

The next Portuguese cultural class after this session will be held in Tracy starting March 1. A former student of Gomes Del Pino has a daughter working for the City of Tracy who told them about this program. “So they sought me out and I was invited,” she said, to offer the class at the Tracy Community Center.

For more information about the class, call Gomes Del Pino at 824-1436 or send her an e-mail at mdelpino03@comcast.net.
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