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NocheUnidos UnidosNow

Celebrating their 10th Anniversay, UnidosNow Presents “NocheUnidos”

| Suncoast Post Staff |

UnidosNow presents the acclaimed Mexican Mariachi Cobre group and the Venice Symphony, on Friday, May 20, 7:30 p.m., at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, and on Saturday, May 21, 2:30 p.m., at the Venice Performing Arts Center, 1 Indian Ave., Venice. Michelle Merrill, the former associate conductor of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, will conduct both performances. The concerts commemorate UnidosNow’s 10th anniversary, which has been delayed for two years due to the pandemic. The two concerts will merge the dynamic exuberance of traditional mariachi with the emotional power of a classical symphony. This signature fundraising event commemorates the nonprofit’s 10th anniversary.

 Proceeds will raise valuable funds to empower UnidosNow’s education, integration, and civic engagement initiatives. Tickets for the event, which range from $30 to $120, are now on sale HERE.  For sponsorship information, contact Nathalie Michalowski at For today, Tuesday, May 17, there will be a 24 hour 50% off flash sale on all of our tickets for the shows. People can reference the code “UNIDOS” when they buy online or call to purchase at the box office. 

Kelly Kirschner, the board chair of UnidosNow, says that the concerts are “a metaphor of UnidosNow’s work in the region over the past 12 years as we seek to present an alternative to the xenophobia that is too common in our state and nation in 2022, in particular as it relates to immigrants from Latin America. The combination of these musical groups together not only creates an amazingly rich sound, the two build upon one another in an additive way that is symbolic of how immigration is not a zero sum game.”

Kirschner describes NocheUnidos, “like the demographic composition of our nation, the concerts will feature a diverse tapestry of musical delights combining the exuberance of traditional mariachi with the emotional power of a seventy-two piece orchestra.” He explains that the program will showcase the most treasured musical artforms of the Old and New Worlds to create an unforgettable experience. Each group will perform their own repertoire separately and ultimately come together to perform well-known works that will leave attendees with goosebumps. He adds that UnidosNow is thrilled to announce that Gulf Coast Community Foundation is the presenting sponsor of NocheUnidos. First generation, Latina immigrant, mother, local attorney, and international FIFA soccer referee Christina Unkel is the event chair.

The poster art selected to promote the event is by artist Yulner Diaz. The work is rich in symbolism and visually conveys the metaphor and work of UnidosNow, reflecting the fusion of the new world’s emerging art forms with the old world’s creative heritage along the iconic Sarasota bayfront. The artist’s original artwork will be auctioned on May 20 at the Van Wezel event for NocheUnidos. Diaz attended Ringling College of Art and Design and is a passionate supporter of the spirit of unity.

Mariachi Cobre is one of the best known mariachi bands in the United States, performing for millions of listeners, including traveling with the Boston Pops. Originally based in Tucson, Arizona, the group was formed by guitarron and guitar player Randy Carrillo, a veteran of the first mariachi group in the U.S., Mariachi Juvenil Los Chanquitos Feos De Tucson. In addition to Carrillo, the original band included his brother, Steve Carillo, on trumpet, guitarron, vihuela and guitar, Mack Ruiz on violin, and Frank Grijalva as the arranger. Mariachi Cobre has expanded to also include Chris Figueroa (violin), Hector Gama (violin), Miguel Molina (trumpet), Israel Molina (violin), Robert Martinez (vihuela), Antonio Ruiz (violin and viola), Javier Trujillo (guitarra de Golpe), and Mario Trujillo (violin).

The Venice Symphony is a nonprofit professional, 72-piece orchestra providing outstanding symphonic music and unique educational opportunities for youth and adults.

Conductor Michelle Merrill has been inspiring audiences throughout the country with her sharply detailed and vibrant performances. A passionate and dynamic artist, she served four years as the assistant and then associate conductor of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, where she also carried the title of Phillip and Lauren Fisher Community Ambassador. In addition to her growing guest conducting schedule, Ms. Merrill currently serves as the music director of the Coastal Symphony of Georgia, where she has ignited the growth and expansion of the orchestra’s offerings both on and off the stage.

UnidosNow offers educational and professional outreach initiatives to the Hispanic/Latinx communities in Sarasota and Manatee counties so that they can create circles of opportunities for generations to come. The organization achieves this through education initiatives, leadership training, community services, and civic engagement. Visit UnidosNow for more information.

About UnidosNow

Founded in 2010, UnidosNow’s mission is to elevate the quality of life of the growing Hispanic/Latino community in Manatee and Sarasota counties through education, integration, and civic engagement. Its education initiatives seek to empower our community’s future leaders to be agents of social change through college and career readiness preparation, leadership training, and community service. Visit UnidosNow.

Photo from UnidosNow

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