For the 11th year in a row, the community will come together on the Eve of Thanksgiving to give thanks to all of the great Latin music in Madison. And also to raise money for the music programs at Centro Hispano of Dane County and the Madison Camaguey Sister City project. Latin Music Fest 2018 will take place tonight 8 p.m.-midnight at Majestic Theatre, 115 King St.

“This is the 11th year … the event is like a homecoming for people in the community,” Centro Hispano Executive Director Karen Coller tells Madison365. “A lot of people who have been involved with Madison’s Latino community and with Centro Hispano will be there. It’s just really nice. It feels like you’re checking in with your history and seeing all of these people. I’m really grateful to Ricardo [Gonzalez] and everybody that plans this event.

“I love the fact that it seems like over the last few years that there are more and more musicians in town that are playing Latin Fest,” she adds. “So that’s nice to see, too … just the growth. It’s a great event. It’s always held on the eve of Thanksgiving.

At Madison’s premiere Latin music dance party tonight will feature the sounds of Orquesta MAS (Madison All Stars), the award-winning Tony Castaneda Latin Jazz Band and Acoplados Latin Jazz Project.

Orquesta MAS is a salsa band made up of 12 of Madison’s finest musicians originating from a diverse group of countries such as Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Puerto Rico and the United States. The concept for this project was to create a band that was inclusive to all musicians who share the love and passion for Latin rhythms and showcase the talent we have here in Madison.

The Tony Castaneda Latin Jazz Band is one of Madison’s favorite Latin/jazz groups and the Acoplados Latin Jazz Project is a former duo that has added talented regional Latin Jazz musicians to its group to make its own unique sound.

Manuel “Manny” Vellon

This year, the Latin Music Fest will present a special recognition to Manuel “Manny” Vellon for his many contributions to Latin music in Madison and his service to the community.

“It’s so cool to see Manny getting an award. I always think of Grupo Candela as being one of those great groups here in Madison and ever since I’ve been here in Madison in 2013 he’s always been so supportive of what we do and so giving of himself,” Coller says. “He’s a wonderful musician, too. It’s nice to see somebody like that get recognized. He’s such a selfless guy.

Dance lessons will be offered by Luis Armacanqui starting at 8 p.m., and DJs Rumba and Chamo will play in between sets. Money raised at the event will benefit music efforts in the city, including the music program at Centro Hispano.

“Our music programs for our youth and adults at Centro is something that I and the board of directors hope to deepen even more,” Coller says. “We want to get more and more connected with musicians and having more events at Centro. Every year, this money gets earmarked to helped Centro and we are very grateful for that.

“Latin Music Fest 2018 is going to fun, so I hope the community really comes out,” she adds. “I always get the question: ‘How can I engage the Latino community? How can I help?’ Tonight is a great chance to make connections with the community and build relationships with people. This is the perfect event to do that. It’s such a special night.”