Flamenco dancing, performed with exuberant hand-clapping and stamping
of the feet, will add spice to the debut performance of the Santa
Cecilia Orchestra Oct. 18 at The Alex Theatre.
Music director and conductor Sonia Marie De Leon de Vega of Eagle
Rock leads the orchestra in this all-Spanish composer program titled
“A Night in Spain.” Composers featured will be Granados, De Falla and
The evening’s highlight is the piece “El Amor Brujo” by Manuel de
Falla, originally composed for Pastora Imperio, one of the greatest
gypsy dancers and singers of Spain, De Leon de Vega said. Guest
flamenco artist Maria “ChaCha” Bermudez will perform the singing and
dancing for the selection at The Alex.
“As a special treat, we are doing the De Falla’s ‘El Amor Brujo’
as it was originally intended to be performed, with a flamenco artist
singing and dancing,” she said. “Today it is always done all over the
world by an opera singer without dancing.”
It has been a career goal for Bermudez to sing and dance this
piece, De Leon de Vega said. She performed the dancing for it a few
“Her dancing is incredible,” the conductor said. “The voice in the
flamenco style has a gypsy sound that is very different than what an
audience is used to hearing.”
De Leon de Vega promises the performance will be a very visual one
that will captivate the attention of even younger audience members.
Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the orchestra plays regularly at
the Ford Amphitheater in Los Angeles and the Warner Grand Theatre in
San Pedro. It pulls a large Latin audience from Northeast Los Angeles
and always has a Spanish or Latin composer on the program, she said.
The orchestra does a lot of outreach to schools in these areas
through its Discovering Music Program, which will expand to Glendale
elementary schools at the end of October, De Leon de Vega said.
The Alex Theatre was chosen as a new locale because of its
proximity to the areas of Eagle Rock, Glassell Park and Highland
Park. The conductor is hoping to become a resident company of The