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Mariachi Christmas Spectacular Trumpets Holiday Traditions

Mariachi Christmas Spectacular Trumpets Holiday Traditions

Thursday, November 30, 2017

SOCORRO, N.M. – Celebrate the exuberant and colorful sights and sounds of the holiday traditions of Mexico with a “Mariachi Christmas” starting at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 9 at New Mexico Tech’s Macey Center in a Performing Arts Series (PAS) event.

Arrive early and take part in Tech Club Macey’s Taco Bar Social Hour from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., also at Macey Center, open to members (free) and non-members ($5).

 

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Mariachi Aztlan and Ballet Folklorico will perform at Macey Center on December 9.

 

Featuring Mariachi Aztlan and Ballet Folklórico of the University of Texas, Rio Grande Valley (UT/RGV), this year marks the sixth annual performance in Socorro of bilingual folk music and dances curated by the founder of Mariachi Christmas, Norberta Fresquez.

Mariachi Christmas is a music and dance extravaganza, with the musicians decked out in a clothing style known as charro (referring to a traditional Mexican horseman) – sombreros, fitted black pants and decorated short jackets trimmed with conchos and braiding, with their lively violins, proud trumpets and celebrated strings.

Add to the music, talented young dancers in richly colored swirling dresses and costumes performing traditional folk dances that date back generations, for a delightful introduction to the Christmas season in Socorro.

“The annual Mariachi Christmas concert marks an appropriate beginning to a holiday season that in many aspects mirrors some of the seasonal traditions of our neighbor to the South,” said PAS Director Ronna Kalish. “This presentation is a delightful way to embrace the spirit of the holidays.”

Mariachi is considered uniquely Mexican, representing homegrown traditions that embrace both indigenous and foreign elements, an emblematic mix of music, dance and culture. 

Musical Director Francisco Loera has been a lecturer at the host university for over 20 years in the departments of Modern Languages and Music, serving as music director of Mariachi Aztlán and Mariachi Juvenil Aztlán. Under his direction, UT/RGV earned recognition as the most outstanding university mariachi program in the nation.

For their Socorro performance, six violinists will join three players on trumpet, two guitarists and musicians on vihuela, guitarrón and harp. The program opens with a celebration of traditional Mariachi favorites, followed by “Navidad America” selections, including “Ave María,” “Noche de Paz,”  “Posadas,” “Nacimiento-Jyuanzu y Los Tres Reye,” “Cabillito-Los Diablitos,” “Angeles-Juegos de Niños-Piñata” and “Little Drummer Boy.”

Other Mariachi favorites follow intermission, along with other Christmas carols.

Ballet Folklórico, part of the UT/RVG family, is a 34-member company of university students pursing degrees in a variety of disciplines. The ballet presents student and public concerts annually and travels to local, state, national, international, private and public events. In 2007 and 2012, the ballet was honored as one of 10 top choreographies presented for adjudication at the American College of Dance Festival.

In 2012, 2014 and 2016, Ballet Folklórico UT/RGV won national recognition at the biennial National College Dance Festival held at the JFK Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.

UT/RGV artistic director Miguel Peña, originally from Reynosa, Mexico, is a graduate of the University of Texas-Pan American where he earned his bachelor’s and master’s in electrical engineering. Peña was the first recipient of a full scholarship awarded by the UT-Pan American Dance Department. He completed coursework for His Master of Fine Arts /Dance at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

A professional dancer and choreographer, Peña worked as a dancer with “Espectaculo Járocho” under the direction of Richard O'Neal, as part of the ensemble for more than five years. He has worked nationally and internationally, setting choreographic works for different dance companies such as BYU Folk Dance Ensemble, Ballet Folklórico Nacional de Milwaukee, and several Rio Grande Valley folklórico groups.                                                                                

Norberta Fresquez is the creator, founder, and producer of Mariachi Christmas, now in its 18th year in Albuquerque. She was inducted into the Mariachi Spectacular de Albuquerque Hall of Fame in 2016. Fresquez has received many awards for building bridges of understanding between cultures and sharing with people, from all backgrounds, the beauty of her Hispanic heritage.

Mariachi Aztlán has been selected numerous times throughout the past 20 years as the “Outstanding College or University Mariachi” in nationwide competition. Highlights include an invitation from President Barack Obama to perform at a White House signing ceremony of an executive order commemorating the renewal and enhancement of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics.

In collaboration with the Houston Grand Opera, Mariachi Aztlán premiered the stage production of Cruzar la Cara de la Luna, the world’s first “Mariachi Opera” in 2010.  Other concerts include appearances at the Hollywood Bowl, the John F. Kennedy Performing Arts Center, the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, and a premiere performance of the Cruzar la Cara de la Luna in 2013 with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, a leading opera company in the nation. Other performances include an encore concert with the Lyric Opera of Chicago in 2014 and a concert at the 2015 San Diego Mariachi Festival.

Mariachi Aztlán premiered its newest mariachi opera, “El Pasado Nunca Se Termina,” with the Chicago Lyric Opera in 2015, and that same year performed as guest artists at the Tucson International Mariachi Conference. The group also that year released a CD, “Mi Nombre es México,” to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of the UTPA/UTRGV Mariachi Program.   

Founded in 1989, the ensemble has won more first-place awards at mariachi competitions than any other group in recent history. 

Sponsors for a Mariachi Christmas are Presbyterian (Socorro General Hospital), Wells Fargo, El Sombrero and KUNM-FM.

Tickets are $20 for adults, $18 for seniors and $10 for youths. New Mexico Tech students will be admitted free with their student ID at the door, or can pick up one ticket each at the New Mexico Tech Bookstore.

Tickets also can be purchased online or at the following locations: PAS office, New Mexico Tech Cashier (Fidel Center), Socorro County Chamber of Commerce and Sofia’s Kitchen.