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FESTIVALS & EVENTS : Music Translates Into Diversity at Fiesta

August 26, 1993|FRANK MESSINA | Frank Messina is a free-lance writer who contributes regularly to The Times Orange County Edition.

Dana Point's first annual Fiesta Latina en la Placita started out as a simple idea: a celebration of the many rich, vibrant forms of Latin music. But, as sometimes happens with simple ideas, a grander moral imperative took over.

More than just a concert for the South County cultural elite, Sunday's Fiesta is seen by festival organizers as a way to welcome and introduce the city's fast-growing Latino community.

"At first, I really just wanted to share my love for Latin music," said Colleen Schwandt, the fiesta's founder and a project coordinator with the city's cultural commission, "but then I realized how the Latin community in Dana Point is growing and that we can use this as an opportunity to incorporate this into the community at large."

Flyers in Spanish are being distributed in the Latino sections of Dana Point, which has a Latino population of 15%, Schwandt said. Latino leaders in the community are also helping to organize the event.

Organizers hope the broad, eclectic lineup of performers will draw all segments of the Dana Point community.

Featured musical artists will be flamenco stylists, guitarist Alberto de Almar and percussionist Rene Castro; Dinastia Nortena, a quartet playing music from northern Mexico, and samba singer Sonia Santos.

On stage will be the Xipe Totec troupe performing ancient ritual Aztec dances, and the Esperanza Flores Dance Group, which will display a variety of dance styles from several Latin American countries.

Also, the local Juaneno Indian tribe will perform traditional dances of their culture.

Fiesta-goers can get a look at some Latin arts and crafts and sample foods from Mexico and Brazil. Dance contests for children will take place throughout the day.

"We're doing this for a good reason," Schwandt said, "but the quality of the music will be phenomenal."

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