April 2, 2022 — 10:00 AM to
April 2, 2022 — 12:30 PM
Mitby Theater
3550 Anderson St, Madison, WI 53704
Madison, Wisconsin

El Salón México

Please join us for two back-to-back family performances on April 2, 2022, “El Salón México,” at 10 am and 11:30 am. The second performance will be sensory-friendly with relaxed house rules and safe lighting levels for movement. Additionally, there will be designated quiet rooms available before and during the performance.

“El Salón México” is a fictional story of two good friends, Aaron Copland and Carlos Chávez, written by Mary and Andrew Sewell. The story retells Copland’s musical postcard, when two celebrated composers meet up in New York City, and reminisce of a visit to one of Mexico City’s famed dance halls - El Salón México.

Between the performances, we welcome families to meet with the characters, get creative at our craft station, and test out orchestral instruments in the instrument petting zoo!


Our Family Series offers an engaging exploration of music for families with children of all ages. The format is purposefully different from typical concert settings, so moving around or making noise during the show is welcomed and encouraged!

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Mary Sewell, writer

Writer and violinist Mary Sewell began her musical career in New Zealand and moved to the United States in 1988 where she performed for over thirty years. Mary also costumed for symphonic stage shows and theater which led her to production for independent film. Recently finding her voice in screen writing, Mary was co-writer and producer for Fantasy in D Minor which won ‘Best International Short Film’ at the Oxford International Film Festival, UK. Continuing to write and produce, Mary’s recent short film Let Your Sisters Be won Best Dramatic Short at both the Barcelona International Short Film Festival and The Monaco International Film Festival. Her feature film screenplay Playing the Spectrum was awarded Best Romantic Comedy.

In creating the storyline for WCO Family Series, El Salón México, Mary drew her inspiration from Aaron Copland’s vibrant score and her own visit to Mexico City playing with the National Symphony - Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional.

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Whitney Derendinger playing Aaron Copland

Whitney Derendinger is an actor, fight choreographer, and General Manager of Guest House Theatre. Whitney previously played the part of Beethoven for the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra's program Beethoven Lives Next Door and is thrilled to have the chance to work with this amazing organization again. Previous acting credits include Stevie in Good People at Forward Theater, Oberon in A Midsummer Night's Dream with CTM and Theatre Lila, Caleb in The Whipping Man with Madison Theatre Guild, and Uncle John in The Grapes of Wrath at UW-Madison. Many thanks to the entire WCO organization for the invitation to be part of this spectacular program; the opportunity to help bring live music throughout our community is an absolute dream. All my love to Deb and Eden, who always sit first chair in my heart. www.GuestHouseTheatre.com

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Daniel Torres-Rangal playing Carlos Chávez

Daniel is thrilled to be making his Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra debut. As a local Madison actor, he has performed with Children’s Theater of Madison, Madison Theatre Guild, Mercury Players Theatre, Strollers Theatre, and Forward Theater. He is a graduate of Stanford University and studied acting at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco. Daniel is a former teacher and currently works as the Director of Education at Wingra School. He lives in Madison with his wife, two children and their dog, Capri.

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Alexander Rojas-González playing Young Waiter

I am Alexander Rojas-González. I am 11 years old. I speak Spanish and English. I was born in Madison Wisconsin. I love art, music, dancing, and cool cars. I have visited 35 states in the USA and I have traveled to Mexico City and Tlaxcala to visit my extended family. Last summer I was introduced to acting, and I enjoy being one of the main characters for the first Spanish play in Madison through Trato Ñ. I also have been part of the Avila Mexican folklore ballet for several years, performing all over Madison and surrounding areas. In my free time I love to play the piano, the violin, read, ski, build stuff, visit the state parks and spend time with my family. My favorite subject at school is Social Studies and I feel confident in Math.

Juan Carlos Díaz Vélez


Juan Carlos began his dance training in Guadalajara, Mexico, where he studied under Carmen Sandoval, Lucila Arce, and Alex Zybin and later attended the San Francisco and Pacific Northwest Ballet schools. He apprenticed with the American Festival Ballet and later joined the Spokane Ballet. He was a principal dancer with Charleston Ballet Theater, Ballet Idaho, and Eugene Ballet.

He has toured internationally throughout North America, Asia, and the Middle East. Juan Carlos holds a Ph.D. in Physics and currently works at the IceCube Neutrino Observatory. In 2007, he returned to the stage, exploring other forms of dance including modern and flamenco, including guest appearances with the Madison Opera.

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Michelle Ramos is an international ballerina, choreographer and teacher. She is a performance & choreography specialist with a focus on ballet, contemporary dance, and the development of the MindBody as an instrument of art.

Ms. Ramos is a university & conservatory professor, she offers master classes and creates original choreography. Pr. Ramos holds an MFA in Performance & Choreography on a talent scholarship from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts; a BFA in Ballet and Contemporary Dance on a merit scholarship from the Boston Conservatory; a Yoga teaching certification from the Perri Institute for Mind and Body in New York City and is an alumna of the National School of Classical and Contemporary Dance in Mexico City where she studied in the eight year track as Ballerina Executant of Classical Dance and under the tutelage of Lourdes Trevino.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a sensory-friendly performance and who should attend?

Sensory-friendly performances are designed for members of the community that have any form of sensory sensitivity and their families. These performances allow for audience movement and foster a judgement-free environment so everyone can enjoy the music in their own unique way. If you have questions about specific accommodations, please contact our Education and Community Engagement Coordinator, Claudia Holen at [email protected]

    Do I need to buy tickets?

    The WCO Family Series is a free event for everyone to enjoy and is not ticketed.

      What changes will the WCO be making to the production and script?

      The performance will remain the same but technical elements will be softened to accommodate sensory sensitivities. The audience will be dimly lit to allow for safe movement. Abrupt and loud sound effects will be set at a more comfortable level or will visibly indicated on stage.

        Can I bring fidget toys, headphones, or other comfort items?

        We encourage all audience members to bring any item that will make them more comfortable and help them enjoy the performance.

          Will there be an ASL interpreter for deaf or hard-of-hearing audience members?

          Currently we do not have an ASL interpreter for our Family Series performances, however if there is a need or request for one, the WCO will take it into consideration moving forward.

            Will we be able to leave the performance and return if my family member/client needs a break?

            Absolutely! The audience lights will remain on during the performance for safe navigation in and out of the theater. Audience members are welcome to relax in the lobby of the venue or utilize the designated quiet room. Once you are ready to return to the performance, go ahead and reenter! A WCO staff member or volunteer would be happy to help you find your seat.

            For additional information regarding our sensory-friendly performance or to leave a suggestion, please email [email protected] or call the WCO office at 608-257-0698


            COPLAND | El Salón México

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            WCO Composer in Residence

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