More than fifty musicians, three conductors, six choirs with more than 60 people in total, a soprano, a baritone, a pianist, a violinist, and the large and warm audience in the auditorium were the protagonists of the brilliant Christmas Concert performed by "Misiones Salesianas" last Saturday at the National Auditorium.
In the entire repertoire, 10 compositions were performed by Juan Antonio Simarro, who, in addition to serving as master of ceremonies, performed in some of them on piano, ukulele, bongo, or baton, always interacting with the audience. Simarro introduced the concert by calling himself a "Salesian by training, as a past pupil." He also thanked the Madrid Salesian Missions for "the great work they do on five continents with the most disadvantaged children." And he thanked the participation of the various organizations that collaborated in making the event happen: the Sigma Group, the firm PWACS, the private Layret Foundation, the McYadra company, and the Spanish Federation of Unesco Clubs (FECU).
For his part, the director of "Misiones Salesianas," Fr. Luis Manuel Moral, thanked the orchestra, conductors, and the audience. They are the creators, he said, "of the production of this Christmas concert, which will do so much good for the minors we serve around the world."
The concert presented a varied program that emphasized the different instrumental groups of the "Cruz-Diez" Symphony Orchestra. Simarro explained the history of each piece of music, the time it was composed, and its symbolism. The piece "Divertimento" for ukulele and string orchestra marked the beginning of the concert, and then gave way to the moving "Overture for Human Rights."
The audience applauded each piece, as they did the masterful conducting of Manuel Jurado and Carlos Riazuelo. The young Venezuelan musicians living in Spain who make up the "Cruz-Diez" orchestra also demonstrated their skills and quality. The concert featured several world premieres, such as the piece "De Sol a Sol," composed for piano and performed for the first time with a symphony orchestra; and the Christmas carol "Esta noche es Navidad," which, as its composer, Simarro, told us, "I composed one night in late August and we will record it in the coming days."
Other highlights were "Mi camino," composed by Simarro after recovering from Covid-19 and as a hymn to love, friendship, and the Camino de Santiago; "Vals feliz," commissioned by the Austrian Tourist Society; and "Tango para dos amantes," music with which the women's synchronized swimming team successfully participated in several championships.
Also performing in the orchestra spaces of the Auditorio Nacional's Symphonic Hall were soprano Angelica de la Riva, baritone Víctor Sierra, pianist Isabel Pérez Dobarro, and violinist Rubén Darío Reina.
The long final ovation for the orchestra and participating choirs of the Federación Coral de Madrid called for an encore.
The Christmas Solidarity Concert concluded with thanks to the audience and best wishes for a Merry Christmas.
The recording of the concert will be broadcast on Spanish television, channel "TRECE TV," on Christmas Eve at 9:30 a.m., local time (UTC+1), and it is still possible to participate by making a donation to help preserve and defend the rights of minors accompanied by the Salesians in all the countries where they operate.