A&M International's Fourth of July Celebration to Feature a Variety of Local Talent

Texas A&M International University's "First Laredo, USA Fourth of July Celebration" will showcase a rainbow of talent from the Laredo community, thus making the event a unique experience for all community members.

One of the musical groups to soothe spectators' ears with a potpourri of patriotic music will be the Texas A&M International University Band, the University's first musical performance group. Directed by veteran musician Elmo Lopez Sr. and comprised of virtuosos ranging from former All State Band members to high school band instructors, the Texas A&M International University Band started with Lopez's wish to provide a local ensemble ground for those who like playing their favorite instruments just to revel in the joy of producing music.

The celebration, the first of its kind to be held in Laredo, will take place at 8 p.m. July 4 at the Texas A&M International's campus green. The public is encouraged to take their lawn chairs, food baskets and attend the free event with families and friends. The event will be non-alcoholic, however, soft drinks, hotdogs, and ice creams will be sold.

Also performing at the celebration will be the Laredo Philharmonic Orchestra Chorale. The 50-80 chorale was formed in 1980 thanks to the leadership of Hortence Offerle and Maestro Terence Frazor. Every Christmas, the LPO Chorale interprets Handel's Messiah at one of the local churches. The LPO Chorale has performed at Carnegie Hall with other choirs from across the United States.

Adding rhythm to the Fourth of July evening will be A&M International's dance team, the High Twisters. The team, which was established in October 1997, has 10 members, all A&M International students. The High Twisters made their debut performance last November during the University's annual Dusty Fun Run and Walk. Members of the team dance to a variety of tunes.

Nothing can be as American as jazz music and this Independence Day, the Three Eighths Blue and the River City Big Band will show the crowd just the magic of jazz. The Three Eighths Blue, a local professional band was formed out of the strong friendship that its four members share. The members, Ricardo Cortez, Jerry Quintero, Porfirio Alvarado and Joe Guerra, perform at private engagements, the Laredo Center for the Arts, and night clubs in Laredo. Each of the members have performed professionally in different musical genres in the past.

The River City Big Band, on the other hand, is a concert band formed out of the Texas A&M International University Band. Directed by Elmo Lopez Sr., the band interprets pieces from Glenn Miller's era. The band has 18 members and some of the instruments that the band uses include saxophones, trumpets and trombones. Some of the members include Ricardo Valdez, Bobby Castro and Bobby Lopez.

Also at the event, Bede Leyendecker, director of the Leyendecker Academy of Dance will coordinate three dance groups. While students from the All American Dance Studio will present a tumbling routine, the Vidal Treviño Magnet School dance team will interpret a jazz number. Leyencecker's students, Gladys Cardenas, Janie Gonzalez, Claudia Hernandez, Monica Holguin, Stacy Jones and Jessica Zamora, will present tap dancing numbers.

The Fourth of July entertainment will not be comprised of groups only. Local solo performers Peggy Dietrick and Veronica Ramirez will interpret patriotic songs as well. Dietrick has performed all of her life all over the world, from the Far East to Europe. In the United States, she has performed in major cities such as Hollywood, Chicago, Los Angeles and Las Vegas, entertaining in theaters, television shows, major hotels and top night clubs. Dietrick has appeared with stars as Liberace, Danny Thomas, Lena Horn, Mickey Rooney, Ella Fitzgerald, Billy Eckstein, Bobby Darrin, Vic Damone, Eddy Fisher, Frankie Lane, Lionel Hampton, Tony Martin, Jeff Chandler and Jane Russell.

Soprano performer Ramirez is a member of the LPO Chorale and has performed with the Civic Symphony Orchestra.

For further information, please contact the Office of Public Affairs at 326-2180. University office hours are 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday through 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