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Department of Music to Perform at Mayor’s Ball

Karliz de Marco, on stage, and LInda King perform during last year’s Mayor’s Ball at the Plaza Hotel in Las Vegas.

Las Vegas, N.M. — The New Mexico Highlands University Department of Music will present a medley of songs from Les Miserables at the 3rd Annual Las Vegas Mayor’s Charity Ball Sept. 29 at the university’s Student Center Ballroom, 903 Baca Ave.

Andre Garcia-Nuthmann, who directs the choral programs at Highlands, is the music director and piano accompanist for the production. Don Evans, speech and theater professor, is the artistic director.

Les Miserablesis one of the most popular and top performing musicals in history. It is based on the acclaimed 1862 novel of the same name by Victor Hugo, a French author, playwright and poet. The plot follows the trials and tribulations of the characters during the French Revolution.

The theme for this year’s charity ball is Celebrate the Arts, with a focus on the work of talented local artists. The event begins at 5 p.m. with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. Dinner will be served at 6:30 p.m.

“With the Mayor’s Charity Ball, we make every effort to help as many people as we can ­–  from senior citizens who need a meal to kids who need school clothes and glasses,” said Las Vegas mayor Alfonso E. Ortiz, Jr. “The worse the economy, the greater the need for assistance.

“I applaud and appreciate the generosity of our community, from individuals who donate $100 to businesses who have donated thousands of dollars. To date this year, Southwest Capital Bank is the highest donor at $5,000,” Ortiz said.

In its first two years, the Mayor’s Charity Ball raised more than $43,000 for local charities, nonprofits, civic groups, and individuals in need. A few examples include Samaritan House, Las Vegas Community Soup Kitchen, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Love Thy Neighbor, Las Vegas Senior Citizens, and the Lions Club.

Ortiz reviews the funding requests. He said the screening process helps ensure the proceeds go to those in the most need.

Lindsey Hill, City of Las Vegas film liaison and event planner, has served on the planning committee for all three charity balls.

“Our community is so fortunate to have such a diverse and talented group of fine artists and performers,” Hill said. “We look forward to showcasing their work at this year’s mayor’s ball with the Celebrate the Arts theme.

“Over the past several years, I have had the pleasure of working with Andre Garcia-Nuthmann and the Highlands Department of Music. I’m always impressed by their talent and the quality of their performances,”  Hill said.

The Highlands University vocalists for Les Miserables include music students Autumn Woods, mezzo soprano, as Fantine; Janika Jaramillo, soprano, Cosette as a child; Nicole Robinson, soprano, Cosette as an adult; Joseph Rivera, tenor, as Valjean; TJ Harris, baritone, as Marius; Karliz de Marco, soprano, as Eponine; Brandon Romero, baritone, as Javert; Jacob Dekins, bass, as Master/Monsieur; Lisa Cisneros, mezzo soprano, as Madame; and McKenna Sandoval, soprano, in a cameo part.

“All of our student vocalists in this production are very talented, and several are accomplished operatic singers,” Garcia Nuthmann said. “The audience is in for a real treat with this exciting performance of Les Miserables selections.”

Don Evans is also designing and building the set, with the help of his son, music major Nicholas Evans.  Sandoval created the costumes and Harris created the choreography.

Tickets for the mayor’s ball are $100 per person with sponsorship tables priced at $800, $1,000, $2,000 and $5,000. Ticket sales are brisk and seating is limited.

“The people who are paying for the tickets are making an investment in their community,” Ortiz said.

Tickets may be purchased from Ortiz by calling him at 505-426-4439.