University's 'Lights On' Event Includes Debut Showing of KLRN's 'Los Pastores'

A special premiere showing of the new documentary "Los Pastores," will be presented Monday, November 30 at Texas A&M International University's Bob Bullock Hall Room 101. The event is free of charge and open to the public.

The presentation is a highlight of the University's "Lights On at Texas A&M International University: A Celebration of the Joys of the Holidays" scheduled the week of Nov. 30 - Dec. 3. Traditional seasonal refreshments will be provided. An alternate showing has also been scheduled at Laredo Community College's De la Garza Building on Sunday, Dec. 6 at 1 p.m.

Additional Celebration activities include "The Lighting of the Tree," Tuesday, December 1, 6:30 p.m., the Great Room, Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library, featuring the traditional sounds of the season and refreshments.

On Thursday, Dec. 3, the University's Ballet Folklorico and Student Government Association will sponsor a re-enactment of "Las Posadas" at 7 p.m. in the Kinesiology/Convocation Building. United South High School's Mariachi Perla del Sur will play lively tunes and the University's Ballet Folklorico Infantil and Ballet Folklorico will entertain. Traditional Mexican foodstuffs will be served. All "Lights On" events are free of charge.

"Los Pastores" is KLRN's video documentary gift of the visible legacy of communal Hispanic traditions which combine folk art, legends and religious devotion in the traditional shepherd's nativity play.

Charles Vaughn, KLRN senior vice-president for telecommunications, said the initiative was an effort to preserve one of the region's lasting seasonal traditions.

"KLRN's production seeks to preserve this significant regional cultural event that has survived in San Antonio and throughout South Texas for well over 100 years. We focus on the performances of The Guadalupe Players, a communal acting group from the Westside of San Antonio that has passed the tradition of Los Pastores down from generation to generation," Vaughn explained.

Vaughn said the "Los Pastores" documentary drew its genesis from KLRN's Cultural Arts Advisory Board.

"The Board had identified this project as an opportunity to create additional significant cultural programming and, with the help of a number of committed partners, we are fortunate to have been able to bring it to fruition," Vaughn explained.

KLRN Senior Producer Marlene Richardson lead the effort, including scripting, shooting and editing. She previously produced "Los Matachines," a documentary on the devotional Laredo dance troupe that was also premiered at A&M International.

San Antonio's Guadalupe Players, a group of citizens who annually come together to take part in this complex theatrical display of devotion, are featured throughout the documentary.

A&M International Professor of English Dr. Norma E. Cantu played a key role as a member of the Los Pastores advisory committee, providing invaluable ethnographic and cultural insight into the meaning of Los Pastores.

Another advisory committee member, Dr. Richard Flores, Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Texas at Austin, provided extensive background materials on the history of the play and its cultural significance. He has authored a book on the tradition of Los Pastores.

Former Laredoan Mary Ann Smothers Bruni, an author and photographer, has been involved in documenting Los Pastores performances for over 25 years and also served on the committee.

"Los Pastores" was filmed on location at San Antonio's Mission San Jose and at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church hall. As intimate performances in churches and backyards are part of the performance tradition of "Los Pastores," backyard performances were filmed at the San Antonio homes of Ms. Bruni's home and Mr. & Mrs. Lorenzo Cuellar.

"Los Pastores" is supported by a grant from The Lila Wallace Reader's Digest Community Folklife Program, administered by The Fund for Folkculture and underwritten by the Lila-Wallace Reader's Digest Fund; The Gilbert and Ruth Lang Charitable Trust of the San Antonio Area Foundation and The San Antonio Conservation Society.

Production was also made possible by a grant from The Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the National Educational Telecommunications Association and the annual support of public television viewers.

For additional information on "Los Pastores" or any other "Lights on at Texas A&M International University" holiday observances, please call the Office of Public Affairs and Information Services at 326-2180.

Office hours are from 8 a.m.- 5 p.m. Monday - Friday.

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Affairs and Information Services at pais@tamiu.edu