Noches de Verano series will celebrate Park City’s Latino community |

Noches de Verano series will celebrate Park City’s Latino community

Events include music, food and art

Mountain Town Music is known for programming more than 300 musical performances a year throughout Park City and Summit County.

The nonprofit — which has a mission to produce, foster and support live music and enhance the cultural experience in Summit County — has presented an array of rock, soul, country, blues, Americana, classical and folk artists at venues such as Deer Valley, Canyons Village, Billy Blanco’s at Quarry Village, Miner’s Plaza and Newpark.

Last winter, Mountain Town Music’s conductor of community affairs Brian Richards, was inspired to present Noches de Verano: A free family-friendly celebration of Latino music, art and culture.

The series is slated to run every Monday at City Park from June 5 to July 3.

“It came about over a conversation I had with Jonathan Keller, my former partner in Orion’s Music Shop,” Richards told The Park Record. “We talked about the needs of the community, and what is being done for certain segments, specifically the Latino population. He asked me what Mountain Town Music was doing to make an impact and I realized we weren’t doing anything.”

Richards contacted the Latinos in Action class at Park City High School and asked students to get involved to help with ideas, champion the concert series in their community and to their friends and family, and to lend guidance through the process.

“I met with the class in December and asked the students who wanted to get involved,” he said.

Seniors Charlene Rodriguez and Evelin Arrieta volunteered because they said they were interested in educating the community about their culture — a goal of Latinos in Action.

“Latinos in Action is primarily a community-service-based class that requires us to educate and encourages younger Latino students to become leaders in their community,” Rodriguez said. “We do that by reaching out to students from kindergarteners to freshmen in high school. We visit their schools and tutor them.”

Class members are required to maintain a minimum 3.0 grade point average and do at least 10 hours of community service.

“We also promote social justice and break any stereotypes,” Rodriguez said.

Another class goal is to get the Latino population more involved with the community.

“Following the [Presidential] election last year, with concern rampant among the Latino community, there were many people who wanted to reach out and support the local Latino community and establish a connection,” Rodriguez said. “This is why we thought what Brian wanted to do was a great idea.”

Salsa band Rumba Libre will open the series on June 5. Mi Terra Mariachi will perform June 12 and Grupo Xcape Norteno will play on June 19.

The last two concerts will feature the Latin Roots Band on June 26, and the tejano-influenced Desafio Show on July 3.

“We approached half of these artists and told them about the concert series and the other half of the artists were bands who have already played in Park City and were recommended by other people and Mountain Town Music,” Rodriguez said.

In addition to the music, the concerts will feature Tacos Don Rafa food truck — which is known for its set up at Sears in Salt Lake City — and weekly Latino art projects facilitated by staff and volunteers from the Kimball Art Center, Richards said.

“Each week will be a mini Latino festival,” he said. “We want the entire Park City community to come and learn about the Latino culture.

“I’ve given the students the reins the create something they feel can make an impact on the entire Park City community. They’ve met with the police department, city officials, spoken in front of City Council and in the schools as we have taken this concert series from an idea to reality.  It’s been an amazing experience. The students have reinvigorated my creative fervor as they have learned the process it takes to put on a special event at the local level.”

Rodriguez and Arrieta are excited for the series to start, and are thankful for the support of the local residents.

“To have this series to celebrate our culture means a lot because we will have people from all different backgrounds gather together and make Park City the best town it can be,” Rodriguez said. “We want everyone, whether they are Latino or not, to come together as a community to get to know each other. I’m happy to leave a legacy for other Latino students to carry on.”

Arrieta concurred.

“I appreciate the fact that the Latino population is being recognized, because it grows every year,” she said. “We feel the concert series will let people know we’re here and what we’re about.”

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