Mariachi celebration coming to Kollen Park

The Mariachi Celebration with the Holland Symphony Orchestra will showcase Hispanic culture and bring a new audience to the HSO.

“Unless you step out of your box you're never going to learn about those other traditions. That takes effort. It’s easier to do what we know,” Holland Symphony Orchestra President and CEO Kay Walvoord says.

Community concert

The Holland Symphony Orchestra’s annual free community concert will be at the Kollen Park bandshell at 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 14. The park, at 240 Kollen Park Dr., is located by Van Raalte Avenue and 10th Street in Holland.

The symphony orchestra as an artform is distinctly European, but orchestras across the country are trying to expand their horizons.

“Our future audience depends on it,” Walvoord says. “We have to be responsive to the issues of our day and learn as an organization to expand our vision and our programming and our artists — we have always done that, but it’s not well-known. We can’t just continue to play to our older audience. We can’t ignore any group.”

Many musical pieces outside of the European tradition don’t have orchestral arrangements. Jimmy Cuéllar has created orchestral arrangements for traditional mariachi pieces, and this concert will be a chance to try those arrangements out.

Guest conductor Mark Alpizar will lead the orchestra on Saturday. Mariachi Garibaldi de Jaime Cuéllar will join HSO. Jimmy Cuéllar, son of Mariachi Garibaldi’s originator, will lead the band.

Spectators should bring a chair to enjoy the combination of symphonic music and mariachi music inspired by North, Central, and South America in this “Celebration of Music from the Americas.”

In case of rain, the concert will be ME Yacht Restoration, 471 Howard Ave. Rain decisions will be made by 4 p.m. Although the concert is free, donations will be accepted.

Entire community

The nonprofit has a duty to reach out to everyone “not just those people who feel comfortable with and connect to European classical tradition,” Walvoord says.

Of course, the community concert brings in no revenue for the orchestra. Still, the outreach is invaluable for the nonprofit and imperative to its mission, Walvoord says.

The HSO has also been working toward diversifying its board, inviting people of different ages, skill sets and races to the table.

Recently elected 58th District Court Judge Juanita Bocanegra has been one of the most active HSO board members in promoting the mariachi concert.

“That’s been something she’s championed ever since we announced this concert and was so disappointed last year to not have it happen,” Walvoord says.

Fliers were printed in Spanish and English.

The mariachi concert had been slated for 2020, but was delayed due to COVID complications.

Read more articles by Andrea Goodell.