Mariachis And Folk Dancers To Benefit Kids

This is one of the more interesting charity benefits. These performers are at the top of their game
BY: TOM EMANUEL

World class mariachis and famous folk dancing troupes will perform for us in support of the Boys and Girls Club of Rosarito in early October. This great tradition was started only five years ago and it has been expanding every since. It now is able to attract the best performers in the finest traditions of Mexican culture.

Kids clowning around at the Boys & Girls Club of Rosarito BeachThe festival this year will start with workshops teaching kids ten years old and up the fundamentals and the niceties of mariachi music and of folk dances. Supporters have already donated more than 100 musical instruments to the The Boys and Girls Club, including everything from guitars, to violins, to tambourines and even a harp. The club also boasts a piano on which children can bang out their favorite tunes. Over 200 kids are expected to attend these workshops and the goal is to have an instructor for each class of 15 kids.

Rosy Torres and the staff of The Boys and Girls Club are just glowing with excitement as they prepare to host the stars of their culture. The Mariachi Divas, a well known troupe from L.A., and the winners of two Grammies, are coming again this year. Also, the Mariachi Nuevo Tecalitlan from Jalisco who are practically worshipped throughout Mexico, will be here. (But then the patron saint of narcos is practically worshipped, too,)

Also flying in from Mexico City to add star power to the festival will be Rigoberto Alfaro. He is a famous master of the musical arts in Mexico. He has been a performer, guitarist, composer, arranger, artistic director, and music teacher to entire generations of musical performers through out Mexico, and in many other Latin countries as well. He has been a living foundation of the Mexican musical world for more than 63 years now.

The festival will also feature Ballet Folklorico Tapatio. They have troupes in Oceanside, California, Tucson, Arizona and in Jalisco, Mexico.

But the festival does not only sport Mariachi groups and dances performed by folk dancing troupes, it also will feature other types of music that people in Rosarito love. There will be banda, norteno, and rock music. In addition, the Baja Cowboys will perform.

The festival will run for four days, September 30th through October 3rd, at the Rosarito Beach Hotel. The workshops for the youngsters will take place over three days on September 30th and October 1st and 2nd at the Boys and Girls Club. There will be classes for four levels of achievement.

On the 30th the international groups will play in various restaurants throughout Rosarito from 6 – 8 pm. On October 1st at 5 pm there will be a press conference and an induction into the Hall of Fame. In addition there will be “Cocktails With The Stars” starting at 7:00 pm. Then the festival itself will take place on the 2nd and 3rd of October where the public will be invited to attend. The Inauguration and international concert, called the “Extravaganza Concert” will take place from 6 - 10 pm on Friday the 2nd of October. The next day will see the international competition starting at 10:00 am and running until 4 pm. Groups will compete for a grand prize of $5,000 USD.

But who started this festival? Rosy Torres said that ironically it was proposed by a Norte Americano, Gil Sperry, who has lived here for 17 years and has been described as, “an American who thinks he’s a Mexican”. Gil has been a great supporter of the Boys and Girls Club and has devoted many hours of his time to helping the kids succeed. He is well loved by the children and the staff. Rosy herself is mobbed by the kids every time she steps through the doors. She has a kind, encouraging word for each of them and teases them unmercifully which they just love. She is extremely busy, and so are all the staff, this time of year, getting all the thousands of details about the festival just right.

The growth of this festival has been phenomenal. In the last four years they have raised 5,000, 11,000, 21,000, and 42,000 dollars net of expenses for support of the Club. They are hoping to do even better this year because their dream is to build a brand new expanded clubhouse in the next couple of years. They have already acquired the land and they are in the process of amassing the funds needed to start construction.

If you love Mexican culture, fabulous music, and great entertainment as well as satisfying your need to support wonderful causes, then you must set aside the dates of October 2nd and 3rd. Get a group together and spend a couple of days improving your musical life and knowledge.

The classes for the students are $100 for each student.

October 1st Cocktails with the Stars is 7-9 pm and costs $25 per person.

October 2nd International Concert 6-10 pm is $15 per person

October 3rd International Competition 10 am to 4 pm is $10 per person

All events except the classes (which are at the Boys and Girls Club) are at the Rosarito Beach Hotel.

To support the Boys and Girls Club and/or to inquire about tickets, email Rosy Torres at rosymtorres@hotmail.com or call for information at 661-850-1773.