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Assayer of Student Opinion.

The Prospector

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‘Viva! El Paso’ returns for annual summer performances

Angel Ulloa
“Viva! El Paso” will run from June 17 to Aug. 7 at the McKelligon Canyon Amphitheater. The show is written to bring the culture and history of El Paso to life.

“Viva! El Paso,” the annual show that captures the culture and history of El Paso, takes the stage at the McKelligon Canyon Amphitheater this summer from June 17 to Aug. 7. The show combines singing and dancing to tell El Paso’s story.

Keith Townsend, director of “Viva! El Paso,” brings El Pasoan culture to life with this year’s production as Native American, Spanish Conquistadors, Mexican and Western American characters intermingle in locally written dances and songs.

“My expectations for this particular show is to produce a great show that really celebrates multiculturalism and where multiculturalism came to in El Paso,” Townsend said. “That’s one of the things we wanted to celebrate with this show, and I think that’s what our offering to the cultural landscape actually is.”

The show features local music and EPCC students, who have worked the past months on cast choreography and set building. Aside from providing entertainment to the El Paso community, it also serves as a learning experience for the students involved.

Shaun Patrick Diaz, a cast and crew member with “Viva! El Paso,” said he’s never seen the show, but expects it to be a good show and is excited about what he’s learned while working there.

“I’ve learned so much in the past three to four weeks we’ve been working, tech-wise especially,” Diaz said. “Like learning how to build the amazing sets we have out there. I think it’s going to be great.”

Eduardo  Montoa, a sophomore multimedia journalism major, said celebrating El Paso culture and participating in the community are both important.

“I think El Paso culture is very different from Texas culture. I feel that El Paso culture is kind of its own thing,” Montoa said. “In some senses, it’s maybe a little bland – if you’re an outsider looking in, but I feel like if you were born and raised here, your opinion on El Paso culture is very rich and diverse.”

Marina Oaxaca, sophomore art history major, grew up with “Viva! El Paso” and has always considered it a fun event to attend.

“I always enjoyed ‘Viva! El Paso when I was little,” Oaxaca said. “I thought it was unlike anything else I’ve seen. It was about where we live.”

Maria Schneider, director of marketing with El Paso Live,  said shows such as “Viva! El Paso” are important for the community.

“In this world where we are so busy with following certain things like the internet, sometimes it’s so good to get out there and experience a live performance,” Schneider said. “And experiencing it in person, it takes you to another place—more in depth to our culture.”

Townsend echoed Schneider’s thoughts, and said one of the major goals of the show is to bring the community together and provide a form of entertainment that everybody can and will enjoy.

“We believe that the arts are for everyone, not just for the elite, and so, we try to make the arts very accessible to everyone,” Townsend said. “We love the fact that we’re able to do a show that is so family oriented that really talks about the history of this entire region that we’re in and how it brings all of the cultures together.”

“Viva! El Paso” will take place each Friday and Saturday night until the end of August.

“I think you are going to enjoy Viva! El Paso,” Schneider said. “So come on out and see what we’ve got to offer and celebrate El Paso. El Paso is ‘Viva! El Paso.’”

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Allison Livermore may be reached at [email protected].

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    VictorJun 14, 2016 at 4:20 PM

    I don’t see anything about cost, for the show?

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‘Viva! El Paso’ returns for annual summer performances