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Cascabel reunion on tap for Thursday

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By Mercy Lopez

For years people used to put on their dancing shoes to dance the night away to the sounds of Cascabel.

On Thursday evening, several original band members will get together for a reunion show starting at 8 p.m. to midnight at El Rialto Patio Ballroom.

“The dance is going to be a reunion of some of the original band,” Steve Leger said. “It is going to be a great night of music, fun and memories.”

The band started around 1973 with original band members Ben Encinias, Diego Sanchez, Louie Maestas, Leo Maes and Ben Sena. Leger said he joined the group within the year after the band was created.

The group stayed in Las Vegas for several years before moving to Albuquerque. In the early 1980s the group moved to Denver and performed almost daily.

“We did the Denver circuit and would always come back and do a tour in the Las Vegas area,” Leger said. “We would come back and people would love it.”

The group then eventually moved to Las Vegas, Nev. in the late 1980s. While in Sin City the group played at various casinos, but eventually the group was dissolved.

“The group was always gaining and losing members so we went through quite a few guitar and bass players throughout the years,” Leger said.

He said some of the members throughout the band’s existence included: Dave Sanchez, Onesimo Salmeron, Richard Maestas, Ernie Dalton, Bobby Montaño, Doug Chifton, Ben Avila, Max Martinez, Tony Luna, John McGaushy, Chief Sanchez and Tim Salazar.

“The core of me, Leo and Ben stayed throughout the years as we acquired bass and guitar players,” Leger said. “After all these years many of us are still active in the music industry.”

Leger said he has wanted to organize a Cascabel reunion for many years.

“We got this one going by luck, and everyone is going to be able to make it down,” Leger said.

The last reunion of the band took place in 1999 at the now-defunct Siders.

“We did a really successful reunion in 1999 and we are looking forward to this show,” Leger said.

For Thursday’s special dance, Leger, along with members Leo Maestas, Ben Sena, Tony Luna, Benito Encinias, Ray Avila, Dave Sanchez and Chief Sanchez, are all scheduled to come together once again to get the crowd on their dancing feet.

“We did all the styles of music from salsa, Tower of Power, Blood Sweat and Tears,” Leger said. “If we liked the song we learned it; that was one of our unique talents, and people liked it.”

Guest bands for the dance include Leger’s Los Tropicales and Leo Maestas and the Fun-addixx.

Tickets for Thursday’s dance are $15 in advance or $20 at the door. They are available for purchase at Love Music and at the door. For more information, call 426-9429.

“We hope to see a lot of familiar faces,” Leger said. “This should be a reunion of all the friends and people back then that used to get together and have a good time.”