12/2003 – Oren Hollasch and Orengue


PGF honors Oren Hollasch and the members of the musical group Orengue.

Mr. Hollasch is a teacher in the Buffalo Public School system who teaches at Southside Elementary School. This unique school is home to students from every continent (except Australia). This teaching environment, in which the cultures of the world are shared and valued, was part of the inspiration for Orengue’s first CD – Sabre Dance Merengue. Student’s from the Buffalo Public Schools perform in the “I Pledge Song” on the CD. We salute Mr. Hollasch and the entire group for their commitment to diversity, acceptance, and teaching through music.

The band members are:

  • Oren Hollasch—trombone and keyboard
  • Jose ‘Chelo’ Centeno—timbales
  • Nick Brabson—guitar
  • Eddie Candelario—congas & salsero
  • Joey Gonzalez—trap drummer
  • Paul Gaspar—trumpet
  • Jake Smith—trumpet
  • Aaron Smith—trumpet
  • Carlos Day—bass and trumpet

Since summer 2000 Orengue has been inspiring dancers with hot Latin and World dance music. Orengue musicians strive to transport listeners to the tropics, via exotic, dance-inducing grooves. Orengue listeners will pick up hints of the music of Santana, Tito Puente, and Ricky Ricardo among others.

The group’s Sabre Dance Merengue CD is a multi-feature CD with 7 “normal” Orengue Latin-World tracks with guest vocalists Joe Rozler and Mary Stahl. The 8th–23rd tracks are all of one tune, the “I Pledge Song”. “I Pledge” is the new tropical jazz U.S. Pledge of Allegiance song which partners with an “In God We Trust” song and develops through the 50 states sung in alphabetical order. Tracks 9–23 are learning and performance edits. Track 24 is a bonus arena cheer, “Snow, Go, Buf-fa-lo”, a 1 minute edit of the “Sabre Dance Merengue” title track with cheers by BPS students superimposed.

Try a Track:

Click any of the following to hear a selection from Orengue’s CD Sabre Dance Merengue.

I pledge song


Canadian Sunset


Visit the Group’s Website:

To support Orengue’s efforts by purchasing a CD, learn about the teachers and students performing, or to contact the group, visit the Orengue website.

About Songwriter Oren Hollasch:

Like Pledge of Allegiance author Francis Bellamy, songwriter Oren Hollasch is a graduate of the University of Rochester, NY. with a Bachelor of Music in Music Theory from the Eastman School of Music. He holds an Master of Fine Arts in Arts Management degree from the University of Iowa. Course work at Buffalo State College established permanent New York State music teacher certification.

Oren is a classroom music teacher in the Buffalo, New York Public Schools. His students have been involved in the creation of I Pledge Song since the project began in 1998. He has returned to Southside Elementary School where he began his teaching career in 1983.

Oren has served as a Protestant church organist and choir director at various churches since 1979. He is currently organist/director at Friendship and Friedens Churches in Amherst, NY.

The formation of the Latin World band Orengue in 2000 has provided a forum for Oren’s songwriting, arranging, & performing.
Experiences as a professional trombonist have included:

Jazz and popular music engagements with Chuck Mangione, Frank Foster, Tony Bennett, Tom Jones, Diane Schuur, Liberace, the Smothers Brothers, Andy Williams, Sister Sledge, Gladys Knight, the 4 Tops, the 4 Seasons, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Jerry Lewis, Maureen McGovern, and at the duMaurier DownTown Jazz Festival in Toronto.

Classical music performances in: the Bermuda Philharmonic, the Joffrey Ballet and the Martha Graham Dance Company Orchestras, and the Artpark Opera pit orchestra performing Rigoletto and Electra.

As a keybordist, Oren has served as ballpark synthesist (organist) for the Buffalo Bisons AAA Baseball Team in ’84, ’85, ’95. & ’96 and as arena synthesist for the Buffalo Sabres NHL Hockey Team in 1996. Theatre pit synthesist performances have included Galileo and Jane Eyre at the Studio Arena Theatre and Damn Yankees at Artpark.

CD production credits include Sunny Someday by Outer Circle Orchestra, a 10-musician African-Caribbean band that Oren performed in and booked in upstate New York and Ontario during the 1990s.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.