Mariachi music back for navidad

By Ryn Garguilnski: QCS

When Donna Garcia first met Reynaldo Maestas while they were classmates at Mesalands Community College, she said she had no idea she would one day be organizing his annual mariachi Christmas show for Tucumcari.

In fact, she said she didn’t even like him.

“I was ready to hate him,” Garcia said, adding she was first ticked off during a formal debate on stem cell research when he pointed out she spoke out of turn.

She said a twist of fate not only made them friends, but also insured Maestas a regular gig in town.

“We had to bring in guest speakers,” Garcia said of the social issues class she and Maestas shared. She chose Judy Hiner from the Quay Council of the Arts and Humanities (QCAH).

“Reynaldo spoke to Judy after class,” she said, which resulted in Hiner inviting Maestas to perform a mariachi Cinco de Mayo celebration in 2004.The show, which Garcia said raked in about 500 people and was such a hit they came back last Christmas, is slated again this year at 7 p.m. on Dec. 9 at the Tucumcari High School auditorium.

Garcia said Hiner has since given her the role of the show’s organizer. Maestas said his performing has increased to about 20 shows a year, one of the most recent being at the Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque.

In addition to Maestas as the headlining lead singer and producer of the show, he said he will be performing with the well-known Mariachi Tenampa and renown Baila Baila Dancers, the former who performed in Sydney, Australia for the 2000 Summer Olympics.

Also on the program is a guest appearance from Maestas’ cousin, Romano Enrique, who is a professional mariachi in Spain.

A Fiesta Navidad family dinner and dance with El Trio Los Gallos at the Tucumcari Convention Center will follow the mariachi performance.

Tickets for both events can be purchased in advance at the Chamber of Commerce or through a QCAH board member. Advance tickets are $12 for adults and $6 for senior citizens and kids; tickets at the door are $15 for everyone.

In addition to serendipity, Garcia said the show could never be pulled off without the generous support of the QCAH, Mesalands and Tucumcari’s Elk’s Lodge #1172. She said all the Mexican cuisine to be served at the family dinner will be prepared by Elk’s member Martin Angel and her mom, Mary Munos.

“We expect about 600 people to come to the after party,” Garcia said. “Martin is a wonderful chef, and I couldn’t have done this without the help of my mother.”

Being an alumna of the college, Garcia said she also has a soft spot in her heart for Mesalands and its president. “Dr. (Phillip) Barry really does take care of his students — and the graduates,” she said.

What: Mariachi Tenampa and Baila, Baila Dancers
When: 7 p.m. on Dec. 9
Where: Tucumcari High School auditorium

What: Fiesta Navidad family dinner and dance with El Trio Los Gallos
When: After the mariachi show on Dec. 9
Where: Tucumcari Convention Center

Tickets: Cover both events; QCAH season tickets are good for this event
In advance: $12 for adults; $6 for seniors and kids; available at the chamber office or through a QCAH board member
At the door: $15 for everybody

More info: Judy Hiner at 461-9679 or the chamber at 461-1694