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In response to President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall, the Golden Gate Symphony Orchestra & Chorus (GGSOC) will open this season with “¡Viva Mexico! Beyond Border Walls,” a program that embraces the culture and music traditions of Mexico.

With live classical music by Music Director/Maestro Urs Leonhardt Steiner, the program will open with special guest chorus Coro Redes y Cantos de Chapala, led by Director General Moisés Real Gómez, arriving from the state of Jalisco, Mexico. They will be performing a mix of historic folksongs and ballads.

“I wanted to do something artistic with the Golden Gate Symphony Orchestra & Chorus, and connect Mexico with what Trump has said on Mexico,” said Steiner, who is originally from Switzerland. “Right now we are also dealing with three women singers who were denied visas, they performed last year for the Día de los Muertos festivities, but this year it’s just become more difficult even with the minister of culture involved.”

Since 1989, Steiner and the GGSOC have been on a mission to reach out to diverse ethnic communities internationally and in the Bay Area with classical music.

Last season they learned to perform in Mandarin for “Ask the Sky and the Earth,” by Hong Kong composer, Tony Wok to reach out to the Chinese community.

This year’s show will also feature special guests like local conductor Martha Rodríguez-Salazar, and featured soloists Alicia Naylor Guerrero, Zahra Rostchild, Joel Ponce and Gaspard Mbole.

Martha Rodríguez-Salazar

“I’m Mexican, and the generosity of Maestro Steiner in this performance, as he tries to create a good relationship between Mexico and the United States, considering that our political situation now, expresses a feeling of empathy,” said Rodríguez-Salazar.

Rodríguez-Salazar has a musical career that includes work as a conductor, flutist, mezzo-soprano, teacher and producer. She was recognized in 2011 as a “Luminary” by the Mexican Consulate in San Francisco, and most recently received the “Excelencia Latina” award by LAM and Mundo Fox in 2013.

“This performance represents my family and ancestors. It’s very special to be able to sing and listen to music that my people have composed,” said high mezzo-soprano soloist, Alicia Naylor Guerrero, who is a freshman at the Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts. “The song I’m singing “México Lindo y Querido” has an unscripted meaning that says, ‘If I die, I want you to take me to Mexico, my home, my people.’”

The program for “¡Viva Mexico! Beyond Border Walls” will also include: “Huapango” by José Pablo Moncayo, “El Salón México” by Aaron Copland, “Canciones de mi Tierra” by Nicaraguan composer Carlos González Siles, “Coyoacán” by Mexico City composer Antonio Flores and “Culiacán Suite” by Mexico City composer Eduardo Gamboa.

“‘¡Viva Mexico! Beyond Border Walls,’ will allow us to keep connecting with other traditions and people of other ethnicities,” said Maestro Steiner. “As an orchestra in the city it gives us an opportunity to be different because we have this attitude of making things different, allowing all communities to become part of the performance and audience.”

“¡Viva Mexico! Beyond Border Walls” will take place Saturday, Nov. 5, 3-5p.m. at the Herbst Theatre, 401 Van Ness Ave.