April 11, 1992
By Yolanda Reynolds
On Thursday morning, the San Jose City Hall staff had their very own mariachi serenade. The Mexican Heritage Corporation held a pres conference in front of City Hall to announce a gala event, a “Mariachi Concert and Festival,” planned for San Jose this summer on July 10, 11, and 12. At the press conference to help publicize the event were, the mariachi musicians, Nuevo San Jose, the Mariachi Azteca, the Mariachi Monterey made up of Monterey High School students and a very youthful elementary school group of dancers, the Danzantes de San Jose.
The music and costumes were so dazzling that it was hard to realize that San Jose will have to wait until July for the festival.
The Heritage Corporation’s executive director, Dr. Tony Carrillo, outlined the events planned for July. He said that the festival will formally begin July 1 as a part of the San Jose America Festival, the downtown multicultural festival. The Mariachi Festival events will begin July 10th. On that day, under the direction of “professional mariachi and folkloric groups, master classes will be offered to approximately 300 persons. These classes, scheduled to take place at San Jose State, will be open to persons of all age and skill levels.
Also, scheduled for the tenth of July is a beneﬁt Mariachi Golf Tournament. The activities for which there are fees for admission will beneﬁt the Heritage Gardens fundraising effort.
Dr. Carrillo said that, on the 11th and 12th of July there will be a mariachi mass Saturday afternoon at St. Joseph’s Cathedral and another, larger mariachi mass Sunday morning, at the Center for Performing Arts. A “mariachi mass” is one in which the regular Catholic mass is accompanied with mariachi music. Each mass is free to the public. On Sunday will be a procession led by two dozen churros beginning at the cathedral and ending at the Center for Performing Arts Center preceding Sunday’s mass.
On the 11th and 12th, there will also be Mariachi concerts. Scheduled to appear that weekend are the Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlan from Mexico City, the Mariachi Cobre from Florida, and the noted singer Guadalupe Pineda, also from Mexico City. The San Jose Symphony will appear at each concert for a joint performance with the Mariachi Vargas under the baton of Pepe Vargas.
On these two days, there will also be free concerts and at least 100 booths in Plaza Park downtown. Of special interest, will be the two stages devoted to leading local and regional mariachi and folkloric groups (some of whom are nationally known).
The Corporation has also planned a gala brunch prior to the opening of the day’s outdoor.
At the opening of the press conference Mexican Heritage Corporation President, Fernando Zazueta, said that it was time (for San Joseans) to celebrate the positive contribution of our community and culture – which this event will help achieve. He explained that this celebration would demonstrate a part of our culture by sharing our music and food in a special way, July 10 through the 12th.
The Mexican Heritage Corporation has committed itself to raising a $1-million-dollars each year for three years towards its contribution to the $12 million needed to construct the Mexican Heritage Gardens planned for East San Jose.
Dr. Carrillo says that he hopes that the festival will add $200,000 towards this year’s million dollar goal.
The Heritage Gardens is currently planned to encompass eight acres at the corner of Alum Rock and King Road. The Corporation, in cooperation with the Redevelopment Agency of San Jose, expects to break ground in mid 1993 and complete the project by spring of 1995.
The Mexican Heritage Gardens is proposed as a “mixed use” development and, like a number of the City’s Redevelopment Projects such as Fairmont Hotel, St. Claire Hotel and the Pavilion, will be a public/private partnership.
The Heritage Gardens, besides serving a large San Jose Hispanic community, will add to the economic development of the area say the proponents of the project. According to the Redevelopment Agency, the Gardens will consist of a performing arts theater and stage, a community building and an arts and crafts center as well as commercial, small business developments. Ultimately, it will include a senior housing component (100 units), a park and a large outdoor plaza, together with other improvements such as parking.
The City’s Parks and Recreation Fund has committed $250,000 towards the project. The Foundation is seeking another $250,000 from the County.
Tickets for the mariachi concerts are available from the San Jose State Event Center Box Office located at the corner of Seventh and San Carlos or from Bass. Prices for the mariachi concert tickets are $50 for orchestra seating and $30 for arena seating. For more information on the conference workshops, festival booths or the Mariachi golf tournament, contact Dr. Tony S. Carrillo at 926-4905. © La Oferta Newspaper.