Los Valientes: The Courageous Ones

Jordan Morris, For The Review

Students, families and friends all filed into the Ice Auditorium on Thursday to enjoy an incredible show performed by a wonderful group called The Core Ensemble.

Since 1995, The Core Ensemble has toured across America in order to celebrate diversity and multiculturalism. Thursday’s production was a wonderful way to honor National Hispanic Heritage Month.

Thanks to the Lacroute Arts Series at Linfield, the Department of Music, and the Department of Theatre and Communication Arts, The Core Ensemble were able to perform one of their many shows.

Los Valientes was a theatre narrative and musical performance, separated into three separate parts. The solo actor and singer of Los Valientes was Kevin Melendez, playing a different role for each scene.

Accompanying him onstage was Ju Young Lee playing the cello, Chien-I Yang at the piano, the executive producer Michael Parola on percussion. These talented musicians added a whole different feel to the performance as it really brought emotion and life into each scene presented.

As scene one began, Melendez came onto the stage and immediately caught the audience’s attention with his humorous yet dedicated representation of Diego Rivera. Rivera was a famous Mexican painter and later became one of the leaders of the Mexican Mural Movement in the 1920’s.

After a quick wardrobe change during the short interlude, Melendez came returned for scene two as an Archbishop named Oscar Romero. As a prelate of a catholic church in El Salvador, Romero was famous for speaking out against injustice, poverty, and “stopping the repression,” as Melendez shouted in a desperate and angry cry.

The last scene took the audience into a place in the borderlands between the U.S. and Mexico, in a place called El Camino del Diablo. In this portion Melendez played Joaquin Murrieta, known to be the Mexican Robin Hood of his time. Murrieta was seen to many as a hero who stole from the rich and gave to the poor and became known as Zorro.

This exquisite and thrilling performance was a perfect way to celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month. Los Valientes ended with the crowd on their feet cheering and clapping. One of the audience members said, “The music was outstanding and the acting was incredible! I’m very happy I went.”

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