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Nochebuena: O.C.’s Latino population represented in mariachi holiday shows across the county

Mariachi Garibaldi de Jaime Cuellar performs during "Nochebuena: Christmas Eve in Mexico."
Mariachi Garibaldi de Jaime Cuellar performs during “Nochebuena: Christmas Eve in Mexico” at the Musco Center on Dec. 11, 2019.
(Courtesy of AR Photography)

Popular Mexican Christmas traditions like tamales and midnight mass are widely known and celebrated, even outside the Latino community. Festive live mariachi might be added to the list this year, as venues present holiday mariachi shows throughout Orange County.

On Dec. 11, Orange’s Musco Center for the Arts presents “Nochebuena: Christmas Eve in Mexico.” The show, which will feature Mariachi Garibaldi de Jamie Cuéllar and Ballet Folklórico de Los Angeles, is part of Musco’s mission to celebrate and engage the diverse cultures in its surrounding community.

“Musco Center is honored to work with these two distinguished performing ensembles,” said Musco Center Executive Director Richard T. Bryant, “Nochebuena is a cultural celebration that beautifully captures Mexican-American holiday traditions in a way that will resonate with many cultures within our north Orange County community.”

A soloist from Mariachi Garibaldi de Jaime Cuellar performs at the Musco Center.
A soloist from Mariachi Garibaldi de Jaime Cuellar performs a song during the “Nochebuena: Christmas Eve in Mexico” celebration at the Musco Center on Dec. 11, 2019.
(Courtesy of AR Photography)

Mariachi Garibaldi de Jaime Cuéllar was founded in 1994 by Jaime Cuéllar. Today, Mariachi Garibaldi de Jaime Cuéllar is led by his son, three-time Grammy Award-winner Jimmy K. Cuéllar.

Ballet Folklórico de Los Ángeles is directed by Kareli Montoya and has performed on “Dancing With the Stars” and at the 90th annual Academy Awards in celebration of the Pixar movie “Coco.The dance company was founded by Montoya in 2011 and has shared the stage with legends such as Pepe Aguilar, Mariachi Divas and Mariachi Camperos.

In 2017, Ballet Folklórico de Los Ángeles and Mariachi Garibaldi de Jaime Cuéllar went viral with a video recreating “Tale as Old as Time” from Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast.”

Bryant said he hopes the show will resonate with those familiar with the tradition of Nochebuena and also with those who aren’t.

“Nochebuena promises to stir warm Christmas memories for our Mexican-American audience members as it introduces others, whether their holiday heritage is from another Latin country or anywhere else in the world, to a rich new way to celebrate together,” said Bryant.

The Musco isn’t the only place to find the brass and sass of mariachi music this holiday season.

A soloist from Mariachi Garibaldi de Jaime Cuellar performs a song during the Nochebuena:
A soloist from Mariachi Garibaldi de Jaime Cuellar performs a song during the “Nochebuena: Christmas Eve in Mexico” celebration at the Musco Center on Dec. 11, 2019.
(Courtesy of AR Photography)

Casa Del Sol Cocina Mexicana recently opened at the District at Tustin Legacy, showcasing the music of Mariachi Sol de México de José Hernández. Hernández is an 11-time Grammy Award nominee and also a mariachi educator and the founder of Mariachi Sol de México and all-female professional mariachi ensemble, Mariachi Reyna de Los Angeles. His mariachi dinner show restaurant serves margaritas and classic dishes like birria tacos, with shows nightly.

“I am delighted to announce Casa Del Sol, our new home in Orange County,” said Hernández, “and proud to offer our customers delicious and authentic Mexican cuisine … as well as the passion of live Mariachi entertainment.”

Tuesday through Thursday, a Mariachi Quartet performs at 8 p.m. On Fridays and Saturdays Mariachi Sol de México de José Hernández performs at 7 and 9:30 p.m. On Sundays, four shows take place, beginning with a brunch show at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. and dinner shows at 5 and 7 p.m. A Christmas show is scheduled for Dec. 3.

Over in Anaheim, Disney’s Festival of Holidays at Disney California Adventure Park is a seasonal celebration that explores the diverse cultural festivities of Christmas, Navidad, Hanukkah, Diwali, Kwanzaa and Three Kings Day. The celebration features performances by the two-time Grammy Award-winning Mariachi Divas.

The all-female mariachi band, founded in 1999 by Cindy Shea, are part of “The Joyous Spirit of Navidad,” performing 30-minute shows throughout the day at Pacific Wharf Stage with the group’s signature songbook and holiday tunes through Jan. 9.

Tickets for “Nochebuena: Christmas Eve in Mexico” are available online at muscocenter.org or by calling Musco Center at (844) 626-8726.

Casa Del Sol’s full dinner show schedule can be found at the restaurant’s website, casadelsoloc.com.

Visitors to Disney California Adventure Park must have a valid ticket and a theme park reservation. Reservations can be made at disneyland.disney.go.com.

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