Reviews, San Miguel de Allende

With the stroke of David Mendoza’s bow across his violin, the holiday season begins

David Mendoza on violin and Sharon Itoi on keyboard on Monday night at Tres Fuentes hotel in San Miguel de Allende.

Sometimes you do a thing over and over because it is simply fun. The next thing you know, years pass, and the thing you enjoy so much becomes a tradition.

Last night, David Mendoza’s annual Christmas concert solidly became a tradition.

Imagine our surprise in realizing that the stunning young violinist has been producing his family Christmas concert for three years now, in the garden setting of Tres Fuentes hotel. We — Rose Alcantara and I — haven’t missed a one. But, oh, how time flies. Three years!

Left to right: Ignacio A. Mendoza, Patricia Diaz, David Mendoza, and Sharon Itoi.

For us, the holiday season truly begins when David puts bow to violin and nurtures to life his echoey, cosmic, cerebral version of the old standard “Greensleeves.”

This year, our friends Mike and Ann got the tickets and I got a couple of bottles of wine from the hotel. Mike and I sipped the red, Ann and Rose sipped the white, and David and family and keyboardist Sharon Itoi slid us warmly into the Christmas spirit. Mike even breaks out some delicious homemade Christmas cookies, freshly baked for the occasion.

It is truly a family concert. David’s mother and father, Patricia Diaz and Ignacio A. Mendoza, bring loads of charm and rich operatic voices to the stage. In the past, David’s brother Arturo supplied a booming upright bass to the night’s repertoire. He will rejoin David et al for a January 16 Mendoza Family concert celebrating American folk music.

What makes David’s concert so enjoyable is the rich mix of classical and popular music — Bach’s “Air in G” rests comfortably between “Carol of the Bells” and “Ave Maria” (as powerfully sung by Patricia Diaz). “Oh, Holy Night” is nestled between the sweetly melancholy “Adagio Albinoni” from Remo Giazzotto and the tears-inducing “Meditation of Thais” by Massenet.

The night dances before us on a cloud of seasonal tunes woven with David’s unique brand of magic — “Carol of the Bells,” “Adeste Fidelis,” “Carol of the Drum,” “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” “Coventry Carol,” and “O Holy Night” among them.

Mom & Dad return for the finale, “Silent Night” and of course, we all join in and the nighttime chill melts away under the communion of shared love, shared friendship, shared music.

This tradition is here to stay. Thank you, David Mendoza.

PS: I have several videos making their way slowly to YouTube. I will post them in the story if they ever upload!

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