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Letter To The Editor - December 23, 2023

Dear Sir,

As we at the Lake Chapala Society reflect on the past year, we continue to be grateful for the trust and confidence you place in us. We are fortunate to have you in our lives and enjoy the work we do on your behalf. 

pg15aWe also wish our collaborators in the local Mexican community a joyous, peaceful and healthy New Year. For those of us who call Lakeside our home and those who spend periods of the year here, I think we share a deep appreciation for how the Mexican community has opened its arms and hearts to welcome us and invite us to collaborate with them in building a better community for all.

As a token of our appreciation, I am proud to announce a special gift to our neighbors and friends in the Mexican community. 

In 1999 something major happened on MTV: the first broadcast entirely in Spanish by a Latina singer named Shakira. This performance and its subsequent MTV 1999 unplugged album earned Shakira her first Grammy Award.

Recognized as a pioneer who has extended the global reach of Latino singers, Shakira has sold over 95 million records globally, making her one of the best-selling music artists of all time. Her recordings have reached gold, platinum, and multi-platinum across the world in multiple languages.

For some time now, as the producer of the LCS Concerts in the Park series, I have wanted to present a concert that could be a gift from the expat community to our Mexican neighbors and friends. I have struggled with what would be the right concert and how would we fund and create a great experience that would reach a big cross-section of the Mexican community. Then I met Andra Covo and her nine-piece live band and had the opportunity to experience her re-enactment of MTV’s famous Grammy Award-winning concert. After doing a good amount of research, I understood how Shakira has been such a major musical force that has broken down cultural lines and crossed over to be a major star across the globe. Andra’s portrayal of the spirit and collaboration message of Shakira is exceptional and one that will be well received by the Mexican community.

One of the big things we hear over and over is that our Mexican friends are not aware of the many programs we offer, most of which are free of charge to them. We have provided hundreds of students with financial aid and offered thousands of hours of art classes to local youth mentored by artists and art lovers. Our Chess Club and Photography classes continue to engage and connect members of the Mexican community with senior expats. Every Concert in the Park has employed and offered mentoring to Latinos who are developing career-building skills. Many more LCS programs share experiences between members of the Mexican and expat communities with multidirectional benefits.

The Shakira concert will be a tremendous opportunity to open our programs and services to our local friends.

There are many ways that you can be a part of this “Gift to the Mexican Community” and share in the experience. If you would like to volunteer on the day of the performance, there is a need for a dozen volunteers in various roles. If you would like to give financial support that allows us to offer free tickets to the show there are multiple ways to do this. We are looking for people who will buy tickets to be distributed to the Mexican community, or buy tickets for themselves – for every 500- peso VIP ticket you buy, we will give two tickets away. Also needed are sponsors at the 5,000-peso level.

If you would like to help in any way with this effort, send an email with your thoughts to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Thank you ever so much for all your support and our best New Year’s wishes to all.

Steve Balfour, president, the Lake Chapala Society