Radio Havana Cuba | The wedding of Xiomara and Jose Antonio: the event of the year

Xiomara Fernandez and Jose Antonio Alonso. Image: Live Editions

By Mayra Cue Sierra

Seen as a monumental mercantile-communication strategy, the wedding ceremony ceased to be a private event to become a projection platform for the CMQ company

In December 1937, the CMQ radio station opened an artistic talent contest that would not only go down in history, but would become a continental paradigm for this media format: the Supreme Court under Art.

The series of artists generated by this project over time catapulted the performing arts and dramatic-humorous formats of our theater stages, radio, television and cinema.

More than a punctual space, the Supreme Court of Art has become a long-term project that, in its successive stages, has renewed its commercial, artistic, communicative and symbolic strategies in order to survive over time.

Although celebrating weddings between artistes and media on the premises of radio stations was not new, what excites us today has gone beyond unimaginable limits.

On December 1, 1940, José Antonio Alonso — the artistic director and master of ceremonies of the Supreme Court of the Arts — married Xiomara Fernández, one of the young fans who two years earlier had won in successive stages of the competition and She became , for overnight, actress and professional speaker on salary for CMQ Radio.

By organizing this great project, CMQ Radio has not only strengthened the loyalty of its audience and sponsors, but also renewed its artists and communicators at a very low cost as added value.

Seen as a monumental mercantile-communication strategy, the wedding ceremony ceased to be a private event to become a projection platform for the CMQ company, which gathered crowds and shocked our culture industry.

The printed press erupted around her in successive accounts of her incidents until it became the event of the year.

A few examples

The bride did not go from her house to the church, but from the CMQ radio building in Monte y Prado and did so on the arm of her godfather, Angel Cambo, co-owner of the station, whose wife was godmother.

The religious ceremony was celebrated in the Holy and Metropolitan Cathedral Church of Havana, where — as a special distinction — Monsignor Manuel Arteaga Betancourt (Ecclesiastical Administrator of the Archdiocese of Havana) officiated.

The witnesses were the main sponsors of the Supreme Court of the Arts and CMQ SA They were Miguel Gabriel (co-owner of CMQ Radio); Domingo Menendez (manager of the El Cuño cigar factory); Ramon Crusellas and Ramon Lopez Toca (president and vice president, respectively, of the Crusellas soap company).

Added to this list are Julián Lastra (manager of Humara y Lastra, importer of RCA Víctor in Cuba); Nicolas Sierra (Cervecera Polar Manager); Juan Navia (manager of Chocolates La Estrella); Amado Gabriel (Fin de Siglo store manager) and José García (La Filosofía store president).

Others: Eduardo Garcia, Carlos Quirch, Julio Cariti, Jose Ibarguingitia, Osvaldo Fares, M. Basquas M de la Campa, Euleuterio Morena and Manuel Rodriguez.

The wedding march was performed by the CMQ Radio Orchestra, directed by David Rendon and Arjona, while the choir, made up of winners of The Supreme Court of Art, was carefully trained by Guillermo de Mancha, Margarita Lecuona and Zenaida Romeu Gonzalez.

Master of Ceremonies: German Pinelli.

A court of honor was waiting in front of the altar, made up of young people from the VKS.

From the church and its surroundings — packed with crowds — the procession moved to the National Theater, now the Alicia Alonso Grand Theater in Havana, once the site of the monthly meetings of the Supreme Court for the civil ceremony, where the bride and groom were surrounded by thousands of spectators.
The couple received countless gifts from businesses, brands and companies, which are detailed in our print publications.

Pilot Juan Rios Montenegro descended on the Havana lawn from the CMQ Radio plane to deliver a bouquet of flowers to the bride as she left the theater.

The pair’s trajectory was followed minute by minute, in real time by the radio and print press.

In this way, the private event promotes the actions of the project, the popularity of Xiomara Fernández and José Antonio Alonso, as well as the audience and sponsors of CMQ Radio, and is part of our radio history. (Taken from Ediciones En Vivo)

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