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Heartbeat of Mexico Begins Next Week

When Richard Bryant assumed the leadership role at Chapman University’s new Musco Center for the Arts three years ago, one of his primary goals was throwing open its doors as wide as they could go. Bryant wanted to make the venue appealing to everyone – and in Orange County, that means welcoming many constituencies who traditionally aren’t seen regularly at local theatres and concert halls.

“Before we opened, we reflected on the diverse cultures here in north Orange County,” Bryant said. “We welcomed Mexican, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, Indian, African and European artists for the grand opening concert. We attracted more than 10,000 people in all.”

Six weeks later, Musco Center presented its first Heartbeat of Mexico festival in association with Chapman’s Latinx Staff and Faculty Forum.

This year, the fourth annual Heartbeat of Mexico, scheduled for May 23, 25 and 26, is bigger and filled with more headliners than ever. “This is the first time we’ve done ranchera music,” Bryant said. “And we’re adding a lot of Ballet Folklórico this year.”

The festival begins Thursday, May 23, with a performance by Jesse & Joy, a folk-pop duo from Mexico City.

Saturday’s activities feature a Ballet Folklórico Celebration that includes groups from throughout Southern California. In the evening, an Opening Day Celebration Dinner culminates with a salute to Rebecca Campos.

Sunday starts with a free outdoor festival on three separate stages and ends with a performance by multitalented musician Lupillo Rivera and a mariachi band.

Bryant expects this year’s Heartbeat of Mexico to outperform last year’s highly successful festival, which attracted 6,500 people, adding: “I believe in time we will become a leading destination for Mexican-American art, culture and ideas in Southern California.”

Parking is free for all events. Tickets and info: muscocenter.org or 844-OC-MUSCO. All Heartbeat of Mexico Festival events are presented by Musco Center.

Display image/Folklórico dancers perform in front of the Musco Center.