city at night

city at night

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

A Free Concert

Last Friday when I was downtown, I saw lots of posters publicizing a free concert on the Zócalo the next day.  The concert was to be given by "la Orchestra Monumental de Pilares", a community orchestra made up of people, young and old, who have attended government sponsored music workshops.  I decided to check it out, and late Saturday afternoon I took the Metrobus downtown.

I arrived at the Zócalo shortly before 7:00 when the concert was scheduled to begin.  The musicians were in place on the stage.  (The stage extended beyond the range of this photo.  It was a BIG orchestra!)  The orchestra is composed of 1300 instrumentalists and singers, making it the largest community orchestra in the world.



The audience filled much of the Zócalo.




Before the concert began there was a somewhat long-winded speech by the current executive of Mexico City, Martí Batres.  It verged on politicking in his praise of the ruling party for establishing the "Pilares" program in which residents can attend free workshops to learn a variety of skills.



Finally the concert began.  Obviously, I was not expecting a performance on the level of the Vienna Philharmonic or the Cleveland Orchestra.  The performers are all to be applauded for their efforts, but let's face it, these are beginners.  Even the fact that there were 1300 of them amassed on the stage could not hide that fact.  It was like attending a humungous elementary school band concert.  Also, the loudspeakers tended to distort the sound.  With that many performers, was amplification really necessary?

The pieces that they performed ranged from the popular Mexican standart "Bésame Mucho" to the Ode to Joy from Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.




After about an hour, I discretely made my exit. There was something else I wanted to do while I was downtown that evening, which will be my next post.




That day, February 24th, was also Mexican Flag Day.  So here is a photo of the flag flying over the Zócalo.





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