Cinco de Mayo concert

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Saturday the Spanish department and BYU’s chapter of El Instituto de Estudios Vallejianos will throw a concert and dance to commemorate Cinco de Mayo.

Greg Stallings, coordinator of events in the Spanish Department, said Cinco de Mayo is important for the Mexican people throughout the world.

“We will celebrate the music from countries throughout the world including Mexico, Cuba, Puerto Rico and Peru,” Stallings said.

Cinco de Mayo is observed to commemorate the Mexican army’s unlikely victory over opposing forces on May 5, 1862.  In the United States the date is observed as a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride.

Three bands will perform at the event on Saturday. Los Mil Robles, a Latin jazz group will perform first, followed by Russell Cluff and Los Conejos del Valle, a quartet performing boleros music from Mexico and Central America.

The final band is Caleb Chapman and La Onda Caribeña. Chapman, a BYU alumnus, described the band as a salsa and Latin big band comprised of 23 musicians. The band was named as the top Latin band in the country in their age group by Downbeat Magazine.

“They play everything from Latin dance classics to salsa dance music,” Chapman said.

Chapman, who served his mission in Mexico, said he still loves to celebrate the Cinco de Mayo holiday.

“I think this is a great way for our musicians playing Latin music to take part in the celebration of that culture,” Chapman said.

The event is open for everyone to listen and to dance.  Stallings said Chapman’s band will play music for both listening and dancing — salsa, cumbia, merengue and mambo.

“Dancing is such an integral part of Latino culture and we will celebrate the music and dance of Latin America on that special night,” Stallings said.

This is the third annual Cinco de Mayo celebration Greg Stallings and his son Steven Stallings have organized with the sponsoring organization BYU’s chapter of El Instituto de Estudios Vallejianos directed by Professor Mara García.

The event will be held in the BYU Wilkinson Center ballroom at 7 p.m. and admission is free.

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