California Chamber Orchestra Celebrates El Día de los Muertos with Latin American Sketches
Just as the Halloween festivities are winding down in the valley, the Old Town Temecula Community Theater prepares to celebrate the Latin American tradition of El Día de los Muertos, with their Latin American Sketches concert, presented by the California Chamber Orchestra.
When Dana Zimbric, Chamber Artistic Director and Composer, discovered that their concert would be scheduled for November 1st, she knew it was a perfect opportunity to celebrate not only El Día de los Muertos (November 1) but also the Catholic traditions of All Saints Day and All Souls Day (November 1 and 2).
Zimbric contacted her friend, Composer, Musician and Artistic Director for Mariachi Champaña Nevin, Jeff Nevin, and discussed organizing an evening of entertainment dedicated to the historic holidays and Nevin was definitely on board.
“Mexican people visit cemeteries, decorate their graves with beautiful flowers and candles, build altars in their homes with items that remind them of their loved ones, even set a place at the dinner table for them,” Nevin said during a recent interview. “The mythology is that the dead return to spend time with us again but, in practice, it is just a time for remembering loved ones who have passed on.”
Latin American Sketches, on stage at the Old Town Temecula Community Theater on November 1st, is a compilation of music inspired by Hispanic culture.
“Our concert will feature music from some of the greatest Mexican composers who are no longer with us; in a sense we will play some of the greatest hits of Mexican classical music including Carlos Chavez, Manuel M. Ponce, Silvestre Revueltas and Agustin Lara,” Nevin said. “Then we will play a piece by one of America’s greatest composers, Aaron Copland, which was inspired by his trips to Mexico, and a piece that I composed, which was also inspired by my work with Mexican music. It’s going to be a really fun evening full of beautiful and exciting music.”
Latin American Sketches combines the sounds of Mariachi Champaña Nevin including Nevin himself and guitarists Rafael Hernandez, Eunice Aparicio and Perry Chacon, the California Chamber Orchestra, and Soprano Mónica Ábrego; a colleague and friend of Nevin’s for over two decades.
“Mónica Ábrego and I met when I was at UCSD playing in the La Jolla Symphony and she won their Young Artist Competition as a teenager,” Nevin said. “She is a classically trained soprano from Tijuana, so she grew up singing mariachi music but was trained in classical music, a lot like myself. She and I have been performing together across the US and in Mexico, with the mariachi alone or soloing with symphony orchestras for years now.”
Latin American Sketches promises to be a perfect combination of celebration, history and beautiful and imaginative compositions, geared towards not only aficionados of Latin music, but also those who may be discovering it for the first time.
“I think a lot of the music people will be hearing for the first time and that should make it even that much more exciting,” Nevin said. “All I can say is that I promise that everyone who attends will leave saying ‘that was one of the best concerts I’ve ever been to’ and they will feel like a whole new world has been opened up to them.”
For more information and ticket information, visit www.temeculatheater.org.