Parties: Spirited Sights & Sounds

Written by Catherine Bigelow | Photography by Christopher M. Howard

Spirits were bright, colorful and fully present on November 6 during the San Francisco Symphony’s 14th annual Día de los Muertos fundraiser, held at Davies Symphony Hall. Organized by event chairwoman Sharon Seto (a cofounder of the symphony’s Chinese New Year Concert and Imperial Dinner), this year’s fete marked the Day of the Dead celebration’s inaugural online auction and VIP ¡Fiesta! dinner — featuring an Aroma Buena Catering feast — to enhance financial support for the symphony’s cultural programming.

The event, presented in partnership with the San Francisco Arts Commission and The Mexican Museum, commenced with a street procession. Guests then headed inside Davies for hands-on art activities, including crafting sugar skulls as well as placing photo offerings of their dearly departed atop installations and vibrant interactive altars created by local artists and curated by Martha Rodríguez-Salazar.

A sold-out concert of Latin American compositions — led by Enluis Montes Olivar, a 24-year-old Venezuelan conductor phenom in his SFS debut — starred Mexican vocalist Flor Amargo (aka La Reina del Barrio) and SFS concertmaster Alexander Barantschik.

“In Chinese and Mexican cultures, there are many similarities in how we honor and pay tribute to our ancestors,” toasted Seto during the post-concert dinner in the War Memorial’s Green Room. “The symphony believes in equity, diversity and that our events should include everyone.” NHG Sponsored

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