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A danzonero’s wish list for San Miguel de Allende

By Leonardo Rosen

Looking back on more than five years of classes and four years of admission-free public events with the Club de Danzón “Mercerina”, there are various things I wish for in San Miguel de Allende. These are not in order of priority:

Sun, Jul 29, 1-3pm & 6-8pm
The Kiosco of the Jardín Principal
For more information, call 152-2200 (Teatro Ángela Peralta) or 154-5840 (Leonardo Rosen)

1. I wish for a new modern municipal convention and exposition center, large enough to handle really big events. Certainly the First National Danzón Congress of SMA could be one of them. It is a shame that certain major events that were formerly held here say they cannot do that now because our city does not have sufficient infrastructure. These events have grown and San Miguel hasn’t. By the way, have you seen the beautiful new convention center in the city of Guanajuato?

2. I wish for a new municipal auditorium in our city, of adequate capacity for big events. Our neighbor city, Dolores Hidalgo, has one. Have you seen it? How is it that San Miguel doesn’t have one? The Teatro Ángela Peralta is historic and picturesque. However, it does not have the capacity for larger events. The Cine Hermanos Aldama is larger than the Ángela Peralta, but it is privately owned and has to be rented. It is for sale, but I really don’t know if it would be more economical to just build a new auditorium than for the government to purchase the Aldama.

3. I wish for better utilization of Sam Miguel’s public spaces, especially the Jardín Principal, the Plaza Cívica and the Parque Juárez. I believe that our events, “El Danzón y Otros Ritmos Bailables…” could serve as the prototype for a variety of regularly scheduled admission-free events that have both cultural and entertainment value. These needn’t be costly for the government. Hey, I am a volunteer. I use my CD collection, my knowledge of Latin music and dance, and whatever skills I may have as an MC. I am a bargain! And, I love doing it. There are others like me in other areas of culture.

4. I wish that the municipal government remembers our large and economical event of last November, “La Primera Convivencia Regional del Danzón en San Miguel de Allende 2011” This was in support of the Feria de la Lana y la Latón at the Jardín. The Club de Danzón “Mercerina” elaborated and paid for publicity, invitations to performing groups, signs, programs, certificates of appreciation, etc. The government later gave us partial reimbursement. We were provided with the platform, chairs and technical assistance that were being used all the week of the Feria in any case. In return, with only recorded music, we presented a five-hour event with the coming and going of many people, including lots of tourists. More than 20 groups from all over this region and Mexico City chose to perform at our event with recorded music, instead of going to a national danzón event with live orchestras in San Juan del Río, Queretaro, the very same day. There were interludes of public dancing, too. This event was another bargain! We thank the Department of Fomento Económico for giving us a certificate of recognition. We hope the government considers that high-quality cultural entertainment, admission free, is a big tourist attraction. Also, the people of San Miguel want and deserve this on a regular basis.

5. I wish that we had our wonderful versatile Orquesta Marimba “Tono 13” to play again for our events. We had them for our first year in the Jardín. They didn’t cost that much, as live music goes. We thank the government for paying them. However, we were informed that there would be no more budget for this, and there hasn’t been. Yes, we play the very best recorded music, but there’s nothing like the energy of a good live band.

Believe me, I am grateful for what the government that is leaving has done for us. It helped us according to its priorities. We hope to have a positive and productive relationship with the new municipal government. As cultural volunteers, we are here to serve the people and the government by doing what we know best.

Our events are free of cost, since as many of you already know, the only admission fee is your beautiful smile!

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