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‘Mariachi Christmas’ Brings Festive Music and Dance

SOCORRO, N.M. December 3, 2014 – Once again, the New Mexico Tech Performing Arts Series (PAS) will stage a “Mariachi Christmas” at the Macey Center Auditorium, continuing a longtime New Mexico and Southwestern holiday tradition.

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 Mariachi Aztlan returns to Socorro for a holiday special.

 

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Ballet Folklorico Paseo del Norte highlights this year's Mariachi Chriistmas show.

 

This year’s matinee show features Mariachi Aztlan and Ballet Folklorico Paso del Norte in a PAS performance starting at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 14.

Mariachi Christmas, conceived and produced by Noberta Fresquez for UNM’s Popejoy Hall for 15 years, is making its third visit to Socorro.

 “The PAS is delighted to host another Mariachi Christmas this year,” said PAS Director Ronna Kalish. “For many of our local supporters, their holiday wouldn’t be complete without the sights and sounds of the music they love.”

The sweet strings of the violin and Spanish guitar intertwine with brass instruments to produce a music that celebrates its roots in Europe and Mexico. Variations evolved over time, including many influences from the Mexican-American community in the U.S.

One such instrument of note is the harp; equally noteworthy is the musician who brings it to life as a member of Mariachi Aztlan UTPA, Ivan Velasco from the University of Veracruz, Veracruz, Mexico.

 “This incredibly talented harpist brings audiences to their feet,” said Noberta Fresquez, of Velasco.

Mariachi Aztlan UTPA is the same group that performed at Macey Center for its Mariachi Christmas in 2012 with a few changes, including four new members, one of whom is Velasco, to be featured in several numbers.

The UTPA Mariachi presents multiple performances each semester throughout Texas and the Rio Grande Valley. In addition to local performances, the UTPA Mariachi has appeared at the Tucson International Mariachi Conferences; in Ottawa, Canada; in Los Angeles, California; at the Fifth International Mariachi Conference in Guadalajara, Mexico; at the Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlan Extravaganzas in San Antonio and Houston Texas; and has been invited to perform in Washington D.C. and at the Texas State Capital in Austin Texas.

The UTPA Mariachi has performed with two symphony orchestras in Mexico, including performances in Monterrey, Pachuca, and Tampico. For over 10 years, in San Antonio, Texas, and in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the UTPA Mariachi has been selected as the “Outstanding College or University Mariachi” in nationwide competition.

Ballet Folklorico Paso Del Norte is a non-profit dance company in El Paso, Texas under the direction of Rodolfo Hernandez. The Company was started in 1978 as part of El Paso Community College, and has since become an independent group. Members travel throughout the southwest United States including New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and California.

They have appeared on Cristina Saralegui's daytime talk show on Univision, have been showcased at the Las Cruces International Mariachi Conference, and performed with such luminaries as Linda Ronstadt, Mariachi los Camperos de Nati Cano, Mariachi Cobre and Mariachi Reyna De Los Angeles.

On the first part of the program are Las Mananitas Popurri, Our Lady of Guadalupe, La Huasteca and Navidad Mexicana. Following intermission are Veracruz, Jalisco, and Desfile de Colores.

Sponsors for Mariachi Christmas are First State Bank of Socorro, EMRTC, Presbyterian Healthcare Services (Socorro General Hospital), Sofia’s Kitchen and KYRN FM (Mine Country 102.1)

Tickets are $20 for adults, $18 for senior citizens 65 and over, and $10 for youths 17 and under, and are available at the Cashier’s Office (second floor of Fidel Center), Brownbilt Shoes and Western Wear, Burrito Tyme Drive-up or at the door.

– NMT –

By Valerie Kimble/New Mexico Tech