Free Ogden concert series starts up again, bringing music and dance from Mexico

Free Ogden concert series starts up again, bringing music and dance from Mexico

The wildly popular Excellence in the Community free concert series returns for the 2019-2020 season next week with traditional music and dance from Mexico.

Mariachi de mi Tierra and Ballet Folklorico de las Americas will perform the season’s first concert at 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 16, in Peery’s Egyptian Theater, 2415 Washington Blvd., Ogden.

Admission to the concert is free; no tickets are required.

Ballet Folklorico de las Americas will perform folk dances from Mexico. The group, featuring about two dozen dancers, has been referred to as the oldest Latin American folk dancing group in the state. Ballet Folklorico attempts to share Mexican culture — through dance and traditional attire — with the community at large.

Performing the music for Monday’s cultural performance will be Mariachi de mi Tierra. The Utah band is led by Mauricio Paez, who formed the group in 2000. The seven-piece band is kept busy most weekends performing at quinceaneras, birthday parties, weddings and other celebrations.

It’s not the first time the award-winning Excellence in the Community has brought these two artistic groups to Ogden. Indeed, they opened the season last year as well, and Excellence in the Community founder and managing director Jeff Whiteley encourages folks to arrive early for this show — the 800-seat venue has “sold out” in the past.

“It’s important to know that at one of these shows we had to turn away 100 people,” Whiteley said. “What’s fascinating is that the Spanish-speaking public is very appreciative of these concerts.”

This is the fourth year for the concert series here. Whiteley says the Ogden edition of the Excellence in the Community series has been averaging between 550 and 600 people at each performance. The concerts will be offered monthly — except December — through next May. Although Whiteley says the schedule hasn’t been finalized, it is set through the end of 2019.

Upcoming performances include:

Oct. 7 — Osmond Chapman Orchestra. This all-star swing and pop band is fronted by vocalist David Osmond and led by saxophonist/bandleader Caleb Chapman. They perform standards from the Great American Songbook, Broadway shows, and today’s pop hits. “They play big-band arrangements of rock tunes,” Whiteley said. “It’s a very powerful sound.”

Nov. 4 — The Posh Rhythm Orchestra. This band is headed by trombonist/bandleader Brian Keegan, who spent much of his career with the U.S. Army’s performing bands, according to Whiteley. He describes the music as old-style swing featuring new, original arrangements of songs from the 1930s and ’40s.

“It’s a charming sound,” Whiteley said. “A week ago we had them perform at Gallivan (Center, in Salt Lake City) and the people were going nuts. It’s the kind of toe-tapping, recognizable jazz that people love.”

Last year, Excellence in the Community produced 120 free concerts in a variety of communities throughout Northern Utah — including concert series in Salt Lake City, Provo, West Valley City, Holladay, Brigham City and Grantsville.

“We believe in what we’re doing, and we have a single focus — which is Utah talent partnering with communities and facilities,” Whiteley said. “And all of the concerts are free.”

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