PHOENIX (March 21, 2014) − The Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) on Sunday, April 6 will honor one of Arizona’s cultural treasures bandleader, musician, composer and arranger Rafael “Chapito” Chavarria−with a centennial birthday celebration and exhibit dedication. The public event is sponsored by Bank of America.
Chavarria and his music drew the state’s Mexican American community together in pre- and post-World War II Arizona. His signature musical style combines popular Mexico City tropical rhythms of the 1940s and 1950s with American swing. Chavarria and his orchestras performed his compositions and arrangements for decades at key Phoenix venues, including the Calderon Ballroom, Riverside Ballroom and American Legion Post 41, and at thousands of private gatherings across the state.
Generations of Arizona Latinos cherish their memories of dancing at these elegant social events. In September 2013, many of them attended a sold out concert of Chavarria’s music at the MIM Music Theater.
Chavarria’s 100th birthday celebration will provide the opportunity to dance to live performances of his music, view a new “Chapito” exhibit and meet the maestro himself. In addition, museum guests will have the opportunity to learn about Latin percussion and take a sneak peek at the documentary Chapito!
The exhibit, which will be located in MIM’s United States / Canada Gallery, will feature Chavarria’s violin, double bass and handwritten scores, as well as photographs and 45 rpm records. Chalio Dominguez (1925−1996), former leader of Phoenix’s Calderon Ballroom house band and core musician in Chapito’s orchestras, will be represented in the exhibit by his alto saxophone, flute and guitar.
Sunday museum hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. The centennial celebration activities, which will take place between noon and 4 p.m., are included with museum admission.
Rebecca Heller, Media Relations Associate, MIM