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Dia de los Muertos a la Mariachi

Local mariachi scholar and Mexican soprano bring higher learning to Dia de los Muertos on Nov. 2 at Balboa Theatre

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    Jeff Nevin/Monica Abrego
    Local mariachi scholar and Mexican soprano bring higher learning to Dia de los Muertos on Nov. 2 at Balboa Theatre.

    Mariachi Champana Nevin is uniting with the exquisite Mexicana soprano Monica Abrego for an electric Dia de los Muertos concert on Nov. 2 at the Balboa Theatre.

    Presented by the Mariachi Scholarship Foundation, this unique event is bringing mariachi excellence, higher learning and a beloved Mexican holiday together. 

    Mariachi Champana Nevin, led by Jeff Nevin, a mariachi scholar and virtuoso trumpeter, helped spearheard the nation's first mariachi degree program right here at Southwestern Community College and also serves as the artistic director of the Mariachi Scholarship Foundation, which has awarded more than $350,000 in scholarships. Curiously enough, Nevin is actually of Irish and Scottish descent but has the robust heart of a mariachi.

    Abrego is one of Northern Mexico's finest sopranos. She studied with the Baja California Music Conservatory and with SDSU's Mary McKenzie before moving to the Manhattan School of Music, where she earned her bachelor´s degree. Abrego is a member of the Pacific Opera Company.

    Before 1996, mariachi education did not exist in our county’s public schools. The Mariachi Scholarship Foundation supports nearly 20 middle-school and high-school programs in San Diego County, including at SDSU and USD, and an associate degree in mariachi studies offered at Southwestern College. About1,000 students currently study mariachi in San Diego schools.

    The evening will include an original Nevin composition called "Al Aire Libre" ("Into Fresh Air"), based on the poetry of Alberto Blanco.

    "It's my special tribute to the composers who created this tradition of Mexican music that has so inspired me over the years and that has enriched all of our lives immeasurably," Nevin said.

    This will be a pinnacle concert event to attend for Dia de los Muertos benefitting the future of mariachi and of course, ballet folklorico -- the two do go hand-in-hand. Best of all, you'll see mariachis honoring the dead in sugar skull makeup. VIP ticketholder will enjoy the best seats in the house, wine and gourmet Mexican appetizers will be offered at the reception, and donations will go to support the MSF’s scholarship and mariachi education programs.

    Mariachi Champana Nevin with Monica Abrego perform on Dia de Muertos on Nov. 2 at the Balboa Theatre. Purchase tickets here.

    Dita Quinones is a multimedia journalist born in Tijuana with a passion for Latin alternative and hip-hop music news. Her main goal is to uplift and inform so that the Latino, Filipino and hip-hop community get knitted into the fabric of American history. In addition to SoundDiego, she contributes to Latina, Fox News Latino, Poder, VidaVibrante, San Diego CityBeat and HipHopDx. She is also the founder of the infamous music and politrix blog GN$F! Follow Dita on Twitter or on Facebook.