Special to The Gazette

The Emporia Arts Center will bring multi-cultural ensemble, Mexico Beyond Mariachi, to Emporia.

Mexico Beyond Mariachi will be performing Sugar Skull! A Día de los Muertos Musical Adventure at ESU’s Albert Taylor Hall at 7 p.m. Oct. 22. Tickets are on sale for $25 per adult and $13 per youth. Tickets can be purchased online at www.emporiaksarts.org or at the Emporia Arts Center, 815 Commercial St.

Emporia State University and Flint Hills Technical College students receive free admission with student ID.

“Now more than ever, it is important to share stories that celebrate our diversity and the beauty of other cultures rather than perpetuate negative stereotypes that divide us,” Peter Bogdanos, the project founder and director of Mexico Beyond Mariachi said.

Sugar Skull! is a joyous, heartfelt adventure that delves into the rich, tuneful traditions of the day of the dead through music and dance. Featuring a company of gifted musicians and dancers, this colorful stage production is the perfect fall entertainment for youth and family audiences alike.

In Sugar Skull!, young Vita thinks her family has gone crazy planning a celebration for deceased loved ones. Why throw a party for the dead? But when a candy skeleton on her abuelita’s cemetery ofrenda suddenly springs to life, Vita finds herself on a magical, musical journey to unravel the true meaning of Dia de los Muertos.

Meet Sugar Skull, a charismatic candy skeleton who dreams of riding the exclusive train to “Who-Knows-Where.” Along with her skeletal new friend, Vita dances with ancient ancestors, sings with a sorrowful sorceress, escapes the trickster Chaneques, and even meets the famous Catrina Calavera. But can this clever youth help him get on the train before it’s too late?

Vita’s quest to find the true meaning of Día de los Muertos takes you on a journey through time and into a Mexico that you rarely get to see. Much of the magical journey involves instruments that are both ancient and modern, all of which are still played in present day Mexico.

“The Mexico Beyond Mariachi program appeals to the non-Latino community as an introduction to a culture that, like the country of Mexico, is just beyond the horizon of mainstream American culture,” Timothy G. Hart, division director of Ocean County Cultural and Heritage Commission, said. “Using a judicious mix of Spanish and English, the program creates cross-cultural impact.”

Mexico Beyond Mariachi is a group of artists whose love of Mexican traditions and way of life shines bright in every performance. Their philosophy is rooted in the belief that art and culture are an integral part in the development of every individual’s outlook on life. Personal engagement, community experiences and the celebration of commonality are themes Mexico Beyond Mariachi bring to their shows.

Don’t miss the Mexico Beyond Mariachi’s vibrant performance of Sugar Skull! Oct. 22 at ESU’s Albert Taylor Hall.

The Emporia Arts Center thanked Major Presenting Sponsor, ESB Financial, Underwriter, Clint Bowyer Autoplex, and Event Partner, Kari’s Diamonds & Bridal for supporting Sugar Skull!

Special thanks to Emporia’s Hispanics of Today and Tomorrow, Emporia Migrant Education Program and Mitchell-Markowitz Construction for additional support and services.

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