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Sacramento Philharmonic Orchestra performs Viva la Musica

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Sacramento Philharmonic Orchestra

The Sacramento Philharmonic Orchestra presented an afternoon full of dance, music, entertainment, community informational stations and children’s hands-on activities.

“Viva la música!” was performed at the Community Center Theater on Saturday, Sept. 29.

Sacramento Philharmonic Orchestra

The Sacramento Philharmonic Orchestra, in association with La Raza Galería Posada, Festival de la Familia, the Sacramento Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the San Joaquin County Chamber of Commerce brought a festive event to the Sacramento Community Center Theatre. Concert sponsors included the Teichert Foundation and Univision

Sacramento Philharmonic Orchestra’s Viva la Musica

The cultural event opened the Sacramento Philharmonic’s 16th season. “Viva la música!” was a philharmonic concert celebrating Latin music, with musical influences from Mexico, Argentina, Spain, Uruguay, Peru, Brazil and the U.S.

Before the concert began, several fun activities were set up inside the theater’s lobby.

Sacramento Philharmonic Orchestra’s Viva la Musica

The Instituto Mazatlan Bellas Artes brought a troupe of Mexican folk dancers to entertain, and Firehouse 5 Dance Studio offered a tango performance. A street parade of drummers and dancers from the Brazilian Center for Cultural Exchange of Sacramento paraded down 13th Street.

Sacramento Philharmonic Orchestra’s Viva la Musica

The Sacramento Philharmonic Orchestra’s principal flutist Matt Krejci led a 15-piece flute ensemble inside the theater lobby before the concert began.

The second-floor mezzanine featured several art activities, including Skull Mask and Sugar Skull workshops.

Viva la Musica performance by the Sacramento Philharmonic Orchestra

La Raza Galería Posada brought art supplies for visitors to use and create individual masks. Sugar Skull artist Rob-O shared his talent with attendees, who could also create their own sugar skulls.

The preconcert activities were free of charge, and the public was invited to attend and participate.

A brief presentation, “Speaking of Music,” by music director and principal conductor Michael Morgan, along with a Q&A panel, was a great addition to the event.

Viva la Musica performance by the Sacramento Philharmonic Orchestra

Guest host and attorney Gabriel Vivas introduced the concert.

Vivas said a few words in English and then repeated them in Spanish. He welcomed guests, saying, “Good afternoon and welcome. My name is Gabriel Vivas. I will be working as a co-host, and with me this afternoon I’m honored to say and I’m honored to introduce someone who is very special in our community, someone who really doesn’t need much of an introduction, but for those of you who may be living outside of where there’s newspapers, TVs, radios or anything else, I have the honor of introducing Congresswoman Matsui.”

Congresswoman Doris Matsui also welcomed guests to the philharmonic orchestra’s 16th season, saying, “I want to welcome all of you here today. It’s such a wonderful afternoon to welcome you to the opening concert of the SFO 16th season. The SFO is important to our region and the people who live here. Today’s concert is very special because it’s a celebration of Latin American and Central American composers who have contributed to much in the field of classical music.”

Vivas translated Matsui’s speech at several intervals.

Matsui stated that the philharmonic wanted to thank supporters who helped raise the base goal of $150,000.

Matsui said, “The need for support continues. In challenging economic times such as these, funding for the arts and cultural programs are all too often thought of as an easy area to cut. I can’t believe that at all, because without the arts there is no humanity, there is no soul; the arts provide us a way for communicating, and sometimes in nonverbal ways, with the richness of our diverse feelings, cultures and expectations. So enjoy the concert and activities today; please consider continuing to support the orchestra.”

As Morgan noted, the first piece performed, “The Star-Spangled Banner,” needed no introduction.

Morgan soon introduced the first composition by Jimmy López, saying, “Let’s start with our Peruvian piece which is the most modern of the pieces you’ll hear today. Actually, this piece of music ‘Fiesta’ (‘Fiesta! Four Pop Dancers for Orchestra’), which combines some elements that are somewhat folkloric but is more … I don’t know, hip-hop?” The piece began with several instruments playing a few solo chords and then mixing it all together for a dramatic and soul-touching composition.

Blas Galindo’s composition “Sones de Mariachi” was introduced by Vivas. This time around, Vivas said that audience participation was expected, and introduced the chant response of “Viva.”

After guiding the audience as to when to shout “Viva,” the audience enthusiastically responded “Viva” when asked for participation, something that ocurred throughout the concert.

The next piece was by M. Carmago Guarnieri, and was followed by “Homenaje al Tango: Double Concerto for Piano Bandoneón and Symphony Orchestra.”

Guest musicians Polly Ferman, pianist, and Juan Pablo Jofre, bandroneón player, accompanied the orchestra.

Ferman wore a glamorous outfit as she sat in the middle of the stage in front of her piano, and powerfully delivered an enchanting performance.

Fofre’s bandoneón was just as dramatic, and I’m sure it made many wonder what musical instrument the bandoneón really was. Its looks are similar to an accordion. The instrument is popular in Argentina and Uruguay, and is used in tango compositions.

When he first had the bandeneón, Jofre shared that he took it back to where he bought it because he thought the instrument was broken. He soon found that it was in perfect shape, and he needed to learn how to play it. Jofre played without instruction for about a year before deciding to look for lessons.

Compositions by Miguel del Aguila, “Caribeñ, Op. 105,” José L. Elizono, “Estampas Mexicanas,” Chirstopher Caliendo, “Construir” and Manuel de Falias’ “Three Dances from the Three-Cornered Hat” were also performed. Caliendo had earlier participated in the Q&A session.

The Sacramento Philharmonic Orchestra continues to bring music from around the world, along with world-renowned talent, to Sacramento audiences.

In my opinion, watching the philharmonic live is one of the greatest pleasures in life. How else can you enjoy timeless live music performed by musicians from around the world, listening to the greatest composers that ever lived? Where else can you enjoy world, national and regional music in the same venue? The arts continue to suffer during hard economic times, and they depend on the continued support of community members.

The Sacramento Philharmonic Orchestra is very involved with its community and has offered educational programs and open rehearsals for 16 years.

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