In celebration of National Hispanic Month, Otero Junior College will be hosting Mariachi Serna-Flores musicians on Saturday, October 6 for a concert and dance from 7-10 p.m. in the McDivitt Center gym on the OJC campus.
Returning for the third straight year, Mariachi Serna-Flores will be performing authentic Mariachi music incorporating the culture and tradition of the Hispanic people.
“Mariachi Serna-Flores musicians will provide some information about the songs they are performing and how they relate to the Hispanic culture and traditions throughout the performance” explained Gerard Flores, co-founder of the group.
Gerard, along with his wife Virginia Serna-Flores, and their children, formed their mariachi band in the summer of 2000. The family group has been based in Pueblo but now with their children grown and careers of their own the family will be coming from all over Colorado and New Mexico to perform at OJC. Gerard Flores is a retired principal from Keating Educational Center, Pueblo and Virginia Serna-Flores recently retired as the literacy specialist at Sunset Park Elementary in Pueblo.
The roots of the Mariachi music go back hundreds of years. It was the music of the country people; music that celebrated the joys, the struggles and the triumphs of the Mexican people. The mariachi was a version of Spanish theatrical orchestra containing violins, guitars and trumpets. Groups were small and not generally known outside of the region from which they came. The Mariachi has continued to be a huge part in the celebration of the moments of the lives of the Hispanic people.
The observance of Hispanic Heritage Month honors the many contributions to our country and celebrates the culture and traditions of U. S. residents who trace their roots to diverse Spanish speaking nations. September 15 was chosen as the starting point for the celebration because it is the anniversary of independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and 18, respectively.
On September 17, 1968, Congress authorized President Lyndon B. Johnson to proclaim National Hispanic Week, observed during the week including September 15 and 16. The observance was expanded in 1974 by President Gerald R. Ford’s proclamation for it to begin September 10 through the 16. Congress passed another law on August 17, 1988 authorizing the President Ronald Reagan to expand the observance to a month-long celebration, September 15 through October 15.
Debbie Phillips, coordinator of campus and community events at OJC, said that the college’s celebration of National Hispanic Month is a significant cultural event on the campus.
“OJC is a Hispanic-serving institution with a large portion of our students being of Hispanic descent. Those students bring with them a rich Hispanic culture and we are proud to showcase that heritage and celebrate with song and dance the great moments in the lives of Hispanic people,” said Phillips.
The Mariachi Serna-Flores concert and dance will be held on Saturday October 6, 2012 from 7-10 p.m. in the McDivitt Center gym on the OJC campus. Tickets are $5.00 per person and are available from OJC PTK member, or by contacting Debbie Phillips at 384-6863, or in Humanities Center Room 119. Proceeds from this concert will benefit the OJC PTK organization. Tickets will also be available at the door the evening of the concert.