Entertainment, Fun, Fireworks – All for Free on July 4th

Entertainment, Fun, Fireworks – Free on July 4th


SOCORRO, N.M. – With early weather forecasts calling for hot, hot and more hot, one cool idea is to avoid big-city traffic, crowds and concession prices by spending the Independence Day holiday in a cozy, family-friendly environment.

New Mexico Tech and the City of Socorro have just the ticket:  The 25th annual, all-day 4th of July celebration on the grassy grounds of the campus north of the Macey Center conference center.

And this ticket is gratis – the day-long entertainment package is free to all comers – as are parking and the always-spectacular fireworks show starting at dusk.

PAS4th-Socorro 4th-of-July  

“This is our silver anniversary, so we’re pulling out all the stops,” said Ronna Kalish, director of New Mexico Tech’s Performing Arts Series (PAS). It was Kalish who 25 years ago envisioned a holiday event entertaining enough to keep folks at home for the Fourth.

And it has.

“The Tech campus has always been known as an oasis in the desert, a favorite gathering place for young and old alike, and the 4th of July celebration is an important part of the holiday here,” she said. “Some people have been a part of the event since it started 25 years ago.”

Over the years, the event also has attracted Socorro’s neighbors from up and down the Middle Rio Grande Valley, who follow I-25 like Pied Pipers drawn to the sounds of music and family entertainment.

“We welcome everyone,” Kalish continued. “But please leave your personal fireworks at home.”

Kicking off the event is a parade from the City Plaza to Macey Center, starting at 10 a.m., followed an hour later by martial arts demonstrations and the Socorro Community Band.


Come prepared to dance to some great live music ... just leave your fireworks at home! 


Led by local musician/physician Eileen Comstock, the all-volunteer ensemble meets for weeks prior to the Fourth to rehearse for their traditional Independence Day repertoire, including “The Star Spangled Banner” and John Philip Sousa’s “Stars and Stripes Forever,” the national march. Other Sousa compositions are interspersed throughout the program. Sousa (1854-1932), known as The March King, also wrote “Semper Fidelis,” the official march of the U.S. Marine Corps.

“As a musician myself, I know the time and effort it takes to prepare for a concert,” said Kalish. “We are truly fortunate to have Eileen and our Tech and community musicians provide such a fitting backdrop for this patriotic holiday.”

At noon, a “group of wanderers” known as the Metamorfos Collective will perform its “Up, Here!” circus arts show. The professional international troupe combines circus acts with physical theater and global rhythms to amaze audiences of all ages.

The ensemble offers experts on clown, acro-stilts (kids love these), juggling, acro-balance, dance and music in their live performances.

Water slides and jump balloons open around 1 p.m. You’ll want to make sure your young’uns are dressed to get soaked!


Doug Figgs and the Cowboy Way is Jim Jones, Doug Figgs, and Mariam Funke.



Music and dance are the entertainment passwords for the rest of the day, starting at 1:15 p.m. with “Doug Figgs and the Cowboy Way” featuring Figgs, Jim Jones and Mariam Funke. 

Figgs, a popular singer/songwriter from Lemitar, lists country, western and southern rock as musical influences. He recently was awarded the New Mexico Music Awards 2017 Best Western Song for “A Cowboy Like Me.”

In addition, “The Cowboy Way,” the trio’s debut CD, received the 2017 “Wrangler Award” for best traditional western album.

Next up at 2:15 p.m. is a demonstration by students with the Rising Stars Dance Studio performing a sample of the dances unveiled at the studio’s annual recital at Macey Center in early June.

The Tori Murillo Band takes command shortly thereafter with a musical repertoire of Spanish, country and rock. The eponymous singer is no stranger to the bright lights, having first sung in public at age seven. The band is strictly a family affair, comprised of Murillo’s father, Richard Murillo, uncles George, Patrick and Gilbert Murillo, and a cousin, Matthew Belmontez-Murillo.

“Black Pearl Band,” which originated in New Mexico in 2009, follows at 3:45 p.m. The variety (horn-driven) band performs R&B, old-school, top 40, country, and Spanish rancheras, cumbias and waltzes. Each member has over 30 years of experience.

The band started out by winning a “battle of the bands” at Knucklehead Bar & Grill in Albuquerque the year they got together. Black Pearl Band received the 2016 Los 15 Grandes New Mexico Latin Music Academy Award, and the 2014 New Mexico Hispanic Music Association award for Bilingual Song of The Year.

The Et Alia troupe of belly dancers offers a change of pace at 5 p.m. with their finger cymbals and colorful costumes. The troupe was started by Julie Johnson, a New Mexico Tech alumna, circa mid-1970s.

  Darren Cordova Y Calor will be featured at the July 4th celebration. 

Music legend Darren Cordova y Calor will take to the stage as headliner around 5:30 p.m. Cordova, born in Dixon, N.M., in 1966, formed the band in 1993; the group has become a household name of its own in the Spanish music scene.

After a four-year hiatus from the studio, Darren Cordova y Calor released its 10th studio album, “Mia,” in 2014. The group swept the 2015 New Mexico Hispanic Music Awards, winning Male Vocalist, Song of the Year, Band of the Year, CD of the Year, and Traditional Ranchera Song of the Year.

But wait! The evening will still be young when local favorite “Suavecito” closes out the entertainment package with a selection of Spanish and variety music. The band features Lorenzo Valenzuela, vocals; Carl Lukesh, bass/vocals; Ronnie Silva, guitar/vocals; Danny Jojola, keyboard; Tommy Elycio, bass; and Anthony Lukesh, drums.

Suavecito will perform until dusk, when the nighttime sky will come alive with the sights and sounds of fire and thunder, thanks to the pyrotechnics experts at New Mexico Tech’s Energetic Materials Research and Testing Center (EMRTC).

“The fireworks show is always spectacular, and rivals the displays of cities much larger than ours,” said Kalish. “New Mexico Tech and the City of Socorro have teamed up for many years to close out the annual Fourth celebration.

“All in all, folks are in for a really fun time!”

– NMT –