Joshua Dekaney and Elisa Dekaney, faculty members and directors of Samba Laranja: the Syracuse University Brazilian Ensemble in the College of Visual and Performing Arts' (VPA) Rose, Jules R. and Stanford S. Setnor School of Music, received the 2017 Community Visionary Award - Hispanic Heritage Month 2017 awarded by the Hispanic Syracuse Coalition "in recognition of an outstanding contribution in music performance, honoring our musical heritage and inspiring our Central New York Community with unparalleled dedication and talent." The award was presented at La Casita Cultural Center at Syracuse University.
Joshua Dekaney is an instructor of percussion in Setnor and director of the school's Career Development Center. Elisa Dekaney is an associate professor of music education in the Setnor School and the Syracuse University School of Education and is also VPA's associate dean of research, graduate studies and internationalization.
Samba Laranja combines voice and percussion to perform several styles of Brazilian music, with an emphasis on samba (from Rio de Janeiro’s Carnaval); samba-reggae (from Salvador, Bahia); forró (from Brazil’s northeast); bossa nova; the music of Capoeira; and MPB (Brazilian popular music). Under the direction of the Dekaneys, the ensemble has been featured four times at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City and has performed in Bethesda, Md.; Boston; and throughout Central New York, where it has performed for more than 14,000 public school students. It has recorded three albums for Syracuse University Recordings and is the winner of two SAMMYs (Syracuse Area Music Awards).