Hispanidad show is this Saturday

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Highlands University

The 19th Annual New Mexico Highlands University Fiesta de la Hispanidad brings music and dance center stage at Ilfeld Auditorium this Saturday for this popular community celebration of Hispanic culture.

Doors open at 5:45 p.m. Mariachi Cardenal Juvenil, directed by Martín Sena, starts the evening of entertainment with a pre-show performance from 6 to 6:30 p.m.

The cost for the event is $5, and there will be free refreshments and door prizes.

Highlands University Spanish professor emerita Sara Harris has organized Fiesta de la Hispanidad since its inception. The event benefits the university’s students through scholarships awarded by the  Highlands University Foundation.  

“To me, Fiesta is something that the community can take great pride in because of the all the wonderful local talent involved, and it truly arises from a grassroots effort,” Harris said. “I think the event helps preserve our Northern New Mexico music and culture.

“The performing artists this year include many well-known names like Antonia Apodaca, as well as some newcomers. The artists range from children to seasoned performers, adding richness to the event,” Harris said.

Harris said the event has evolved from a simple poetry and dramatic reading event celebrating El Día de la Raza into a popular community variety show.

“The participants are all volunteers and thanks to them and the admission price paid by the audience, the (event) has been able to donate money to different entities through the years,” Harris said. “Through their efforts, audience members and participants have donated to Salvation Army financially and with non-perishable food items and one year financially assisted three NMHU students who lost everything in an apartment fire.”

The fiesta’s primary beneficiary has been the scholarship fund. Last year, after meeting all expenses, the event generated $1,750 for the fund. The scholarship fund has close to $8,000.

Sponsors for Fiesta de la Hispanidad include Highlands University President Jim Fries, Community First Bank of Las Vegas and the Highlands University Foundation.

Harris said that this year Fiesta de la Hispanidad is dedicated to the memory of Emilio and Helen Esquibel, Las Vegas residents who died in 2013 and 2012 respectively.

“The Esquibel’s were a devoted, lovely couple. They were Fiesta enthusiasts who attended every year and will be missed,” Harris said.  

The program for the show includes:
Doña Antonia Apodaca, Max Apodaca and Domingo Madrid; Preston Garza; Maria Julisa Barela; Andrés García, Albert Bustamante, and Jimmy García; Los Zapateados dancers, Lori Bovia, director; Amalia Anjélica López and Joe Cooney; Raelene Durán; Mariachi Cardenal Infantil, Martín Sena, director; Mariachi De Lo de Mora, Joaquín Maestas, director; Latina y Más; Matt & the 2 Timers band, including Christian Gutiérrez, Matthew Martínez, Joseph Wolfel, Juan Macías, Cyrena Ridgeway, and Autumn Woods; Macizo band, including Antonio Sandoval, Joseph Sandoval, and Fred Luján; Inez Gallegos-Luján; Flor y Molly; and Quemoso, a band led by Joaquín Maestas.

Harris said publicity provided each year by the Las Vegas Optic, as well as local radio stations KFUN and KNMX, is important to Fiesta’s success.

Tickets are available at the door, and also in advance from Donna Martínez, Ilfeld Auditorium manager, at the university’s radio station KEDP 91.1 FM, 901 University Ave., Suite 103, 505-454-3238.