enculturating las vegas into the next millennium... art, dance, film, music, poetry, theater, history, nature and everything else that enriches the lives of those who live and visit southern nevada... Since 2003...

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Southern Nevada Musical Arts Society Singers Rock the Winchester...

In their 49th season the Southern Nevada Musical Arts Society (SNMAS) under the direction of Dr. Douglas Petersen has been performing high quality chorale music in Las Vegas since 1967 and Saturday I got to see them in action for myself. I had the pleasure of meeting the feisty professor who founded the society several weeks ago when he came to my talk with Desert Companion's very own Andrew Kiraly. After meeting Dr. Petersen I could say he is as passionate about the arts as I am and he and I share the same obsession about getting Las Vegas enculturated!

This past weekend my parents and I sat through the SNMAS Singers concert at the Winchester Cultural Center. The power of their voices made for an afternoon that I will not easily forget and considering the diverse musical selections chosen, they left me thinking this is a group to be reckoned with.

What caught my eye about this concert was the fact that they would be performing "La Misa Criolla" by Ariel Ramirez (1921-2010) of Argentina. La Misa Criolla or The Creole Mass is probably one of the single most important liturgical compositions to come out of South America in the last half century. Composed shortly before the end of Vatican II (1962-1965) under the watchful eye of the church, the composition takes the structure of the Catholic Mass but is sung in the vernacular, in this case Spanish rather than the customary Latin. Because Vatican II allowed for the liturgy to be said in the vernacular, La Misa Criolla is both a celebration of the Catholic Mass and a celebration of the culture it came from, in this case Argentina. I first heard La Misa Criolla many many years ago when I was going through my fathers record albums. The rhythmic native sounds of the Andes moved me and gave me a sense of pride for the culture that my parents came from. Though the singers struggled a little with the pronunciation, I will give them credit for taking on a difficult composition especially for non-Spanish speaking individuals.

The concert also composed of the Horn Mass by Korean composer Byung-Hee Oh and selections from the musical Show Boat (1951) and Choral Overture from George M. (George M. Cohan). All in all Saturdays concert was a treat. I am looking forward to seeing more concerts by the Southern Nevada Musical Arts Society and you should too!


For more information on the Southern Nevada Musical Arts Society - http://www.snmas.com/
For more information about the Winchester Cultural Center - http://www.clarkcountynv.gov/Depts/parks/Pages/winchester-cultural-center.aspx

The Southern Nevada Musical arts Society
Winchester Cultural Center
(photo by Brian Paco Alvarez)

Brian Paco Alvarez enculturating Las Vegas into the millennium...

posted by Brian Paco Alvarez, Curator and Chronicler of Culture at


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