The Colorado Springs Philharmonic is celebrating Dia de los Muertos with a screening of “Coco,” during which the philharmonic will perform live with the film.

The animated movie “Coco” is all about music.

It follows 12-year-old Miguel, who loves his guitar more than anything and aspires to be a famous musician despite his family’s disapproval.

It’s the perfect premise to go with the live sounds of the Colorado Springs Philharmonic.

“You might not think of it as an orchestra movie,” said Nathan Newbrough, president and CEO of the philharmonic. “But you can’t have this movie without the music. It’s such a key element.”

In honor of the Mexican holiday Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, the philharmonic will perform the score of “Coco” while the Disney Pixar movie plays above the stage. Performances are scheduled for Friday and Saturday at Pikes Peak Center.

“It’s not just an opportunity to see a great movie,” Newbrough said. “It’s a chance to experience something culturally significant.”

In the family-friendly film, Miguel is accidentally transported to the Land of the Dead. There, he looks for help from his late great-great-grandfather, a skilled musician, so Miguel can return to his life and change his family’s mind about music.

“It’s a heartwarming multigenerational movie,” Newbrough said. “It appeals to a big audience and it has a wonderful score.”

For the live cinema experience, all of the orchestra music has been stripped from “Coco” so the philharmonic can provide live tunes. The dialogue and singing remains. “It’s an entirely different movie-watching experience,” Newbrough said.

It also takes some practice for members of the philharmonic.

“They’ve learned how to play along with the movie in perfect timing,” he said. “It’s a musical feat of gymnastics to make this work.”

The philharmonic partnered with the Colorado Springs Hispanic Business Council to fill out the concerts with performances by Ballet Folklorico de la Raza and a mariachi group made up of students from Chavez Huerta Preparatory Academy, a charter school in Pueblo. Atrevida Beer Co., a Colorado Springs brewery that serves Latin-influenced beer, also will be set up at the event.

The philharmonic always is pushing itself to reach broader audiences, Newbrough said.

“Our art form has a bad rap for making only western European music,” he said. “We wanted to join hands with our friends in the Latin American community. This opportunity means a lot to us.”

The philharmonic will continue on that page later in November, when Latin American trumpet player Pacho Flores is set to perform a concert called “Espíritu Libre,” which translates to “free spirit,” with the philharmonic.

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