Every year come December, the Center excitedly awaits Mariachi Sol De México’s, A Merry-Achi Christmas concert in the Virginia G. Piper Theater. Although this year we had to pause this tradition in response to the growing COVID-19 crisis; we are looking forward to continuing this beloved concert in the future.
We decided to take a moment to reflect on this program that has become a cherished staple in our community and a beloved tradition amongst staff. Since winter of 2014, Mariachi Sol De México has filled our house year after year with families and music lovers from all over Arizona.
For those who haven’t attended this magical show before, the program consists of 14–16 of the most talented mariachi’s singing Mexican and American Christmas favorites from Ave Maria to El Niño del Tambor. Each year the Center and Mariachi Sol De México work together to bring new elements and surprises to this annual tradition. Maestro José Hernández has a passion for engaging with young mariachis and the local community, which leads to very special experiences on and off-stage when they’re here in Arizona.
Reflecting on last year’s Merry-Achi Christmas concert was a beautiful reminder of what this program holds true to the heart. The show began a little earlier than normal with a posada featuring local Ballet Folklorico dancers of Fiesta Mexicana Dance Company.
Traditionally originating from Spain, las posadas commemorates the Catholic Christmas story; the journey that Joseph and Mary made from Nazareth to Bethlehem. Over time, las posadas became a fixture within pre-Christmas festivities in Mexico usually at a hyper-local level.
In collaboration with a dear advisor of mine, Normalicia Blanco of Mundo Latino Entertainment and choreographer, Daniel Martinez (Fiesta Mexicana) we decided to have dancers in different garments representing many regions in Mexico. As patrons got to their seat, they were greeted with the ceremonial posada song and dancers gracefully descending the aisles in the theater with lit candles and pinatas to officially kick off this celebratory event.
Mariachi Sol De México surprised the audience with a heartfelt encore with long-time friends and community partners of the Center, Mariachi Juvenil de mi Tierra for an epic rendition of El Son de la Negra. Every year Mariachi Juvenil (a local youth mariachi group ranging from 6–18 year old musicians) participates in a masterclass with Maestro Hernández and 2019 was the first year that relationship blossomed into an onstage collaboration with the Mariachi legends to end the night. It was a production that will last forever in the memories and hearts of many, and a tradition we continue to look forward to.
Though this year we had to pause this tradition; we’re super thankful to have Mariachi Sol de México back on Father’s Day at 7:30 p.m. June 20, 2021 with an exciting new program.
Written by Diandra Adamczyk, senior programming coordinator.
Adamczyk oversees much of the local programming and community engagement events at the Center.
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