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New Tune Along the Border

November 12, 1992|DAVID NELSON

Solomon and Maria-Juana Cohen, owners of Tijuana's Dorian's department stores, hosted an "exploratory" event in May of this year at which 180 guests were invited to a private concert at their home. One result was the birth of a guild, now grown to 25 members, which meets twice monthly as opposed to the San Diego board's monthly meeting. More important was the practical working arrangement entered into by Mainly Mozart and the Tijuana guild, which will present concerts at that city's Centro Cultural.

The Mexicali connection, managed by the private Cetys University, was another outgrowth. Because "Mainly Mozart" does not translate blithely into Spanish, the festival will be known south of the border as "Festival Internacional de Mozart."

The Club 1250 concept continues to bolster the Tijuana group's finances. On the evening of Nov. 6, the group took over downtown San Diego's chic Paladion shopping center for a fund-raiser and private concert. The event sold out at 330, with about 220 of those from Mexico (Mainly Mozart board and Club 1250 members made up the balance), and a prime attraction was the treasure hunt for baubles and gifts hosted by the center's luxury shops.

"We are very excited about the opportunity to bring a little culture to Tijuana; we need it there," said Maria-Juana Cohen, who, with fellow prominent Tijuanan Alida Cervantes, organized the event. "We plan to bring the poor people who don't have the money to attend philharmonic concerts to our concerts for free. This is a beautiful adventure between Tijuana and San Diego, a beautiful mixture of the two cultures. We need more of these exchanges."

In a surprising twist, not only the music festival itself benefits from the cross-border participation, but fund-raising efforts themselves. Some Club 1250 concerts, for example, will be "recycled" in Mexico.

"I'm finding myself able to take double or even triple advantage of the artists I bring to San Diego for Club 1250 by booking them into Tijuana and perhaps Mexicali," said festival manager Laturno. For example, Tim Day, the festival's principal flutist, will perform at a Club 1250 concert in December at the home of board chairman Blaine Quick. At this point, he also has been booked to perform privately in Tijuana the day before his San Diego appearance, and tentatively in Mexicali as well.

"The bottom line is that expansion into Mexico benefits us on several fronts," said Laturno. "We can share the costs of production as well as developing audiences, donor bases and guilds in the three cities. This is a huge boon that has enormous significance for us."

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