The Orpheus Myth
The Spanish term orfeón stems from the name of the Greek mythological character Orpheus, son of the king of Thrace Oeagrus and the muse of poetry Calliope. Orpheus was an outstanding poet and musician, and possessed a precious lyre, a gift from Apollo. The lyre was forged by Apollo himself with the masterful aid of the Muses. This lyre now adorns the beautiful constellations in the nocturnal sky. So pleasant was Orpheus song that the forests ran towards him, the fierce animals became docile, and the nymphs and gods were moved. It is from this myth that the modern Spanish word orfeón derives its meaning as a choral society, a group of musicians that engage in the art of singing, mainly without instrumental accompaniment.
Saint John the Baptist
John the Baptist (ascetic, preacher and Jewish prophet) is the patron saint of the city of San Juan, capital of Puerto Rico. This city derives its name from the original way in which Christopher Columbus baptized the isle of Puerto Rico in 1493: Isla de San Juan Bautista (Saint John the Baptist Island). Puerto Rico's coat of arms, the oldest in the New World as awarded by the Spanish Crown in 1511, has a Latin inscription that reads: "Johannes est nomen ejus", John is his name. Orfeón San Juan Bautista's embraces as its own the identity of its nation's ancient name as a symbol of its artistic labor and mission. It is an artistic and educational institution that enriches and honors the highest values of Puerto Rican tradition and culture.