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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

S.F. Symphony's Dia de los Muertos Concert: A Perfect Corrective to a Week of Debauchery

Posted By on Wed, Oct 31, 2012 at 3:30 AM


Considerations of more a more noble nature aside, it may be that this coming weekend, you'll simply be looking for a little culture in the wake of Halloween (or post-World Series) debauchery. Whatever the case, you'll find it at Davies Symphony Hall on Saturday, where the San Francisco Symphony will host its fifth annual Dia de los Muertos Community Concert.

Yeah, sure, it's "family friendly." Yeah, sure, it takes place during the daytime. But unlike other celebrations of this morbidly joyous Mexican/Catholic holiday, the Symphony offers a concert program of real breadth, featuring collaborations with performing arts institutions from across the Bay Area.

Presented by emcee Luis Valdez (playwright, filmmaker, and founder of El Teatro Campesino), the concert program will include the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra performing Aaron Copland's El Salón México; the Los Lupeños de San José dance company presenting the colorful traditions of baile folklórico; acclaimed Mariachi Nuevo Tecalitlán performing beloved hits of that storied and under-appreciated genre; and the Grammy-winning San Francisco Symphony Chorus with their arrangements of traditional songs.

For all Californians, the influence of Spanish and Mexican culture surrounds us daily in forms both large and small. We grow up on Mexican cuisine, we live in cities and on streets named by the Spanish, and as fourth-graders, we all learn the history of the Spanish missions. But, somehow, the finer elements of Mexican folklore and music often escape us. Saturday's concert will provide a corrective to those of us who have missed out on these rich, energizing traditions -- the color and swirl of baile folklorico, the passion of mariachi, and, in the work of Copland, a key American interpretation of Mexican folk songs.

The Dia de los Muertos Community Concert takes place Saturday, Nov. 3, at 2 p.m.; pre-concert festivities begin at 1 p.m. at Davies Symphony Hall (Van Ness between Grove and Hayes). See the S.F. Symphony website.

-- @TheBurbach

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Casey Burchby

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