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Honoring Colorado Chicano musicians
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By Joseph Rios

Editor’s Note: In the world of education, music always played a part in both private and public schools. In recent years music has been removed from the curriculum, but it should be a part of the everyday school schedule. Below is an example of successful musicians who may have gotten their start in the public schools of yesteryear.

Chicano music legends’ legacies were forever cemented in the Chicano Music Hall of Fame earlier this summer.

Su Teatro, a Denver cultural arts center that produces and speaks on the history and experience of Chicanos, inducted John Munoz and his band, The Vibro-Tones, Eugene “Gene” Lucero, Juventino Romero and Mariachi Sol de mi Tierra de Juventino Romero into the Chicano Music Hall of Fame.

The Chicano Music Hall of Fame was established to honor musicians who have contributed to keeping Spanish-language music alive and flourishing in the state. The music can be traditional to reflect when Colorado was part of Mexico, or contemporary music by local bands who have carved a new musical territory, a press release from Su Teatro reads. Past winners have included acts like the multi-generational family band Los Trujillos, radio broadcaster Francisco “Paco” Sanchez, and others like “Chicano Jazzman” Freddy Rodriguez Sr.

Su Teatro and KUVO recently presented the 25th annual Chicano Music Festival. The event included an outdoor screening of “Linda: The Sound of my Voice,” the Chicano Music Hall of Fame induction event, an auction of art and items gathered throughout the community and more.

Su Teatro has been honoring Chicano musicians since it established the Chicano Music Hall of Fame in 2002. It holds a call for nominations every April. Here is a look at the 2021 Chicano Music Hall of Fame Class.

John Munoz and his Fabulous Vibro-Tones

John Munoz produced all of the musical arrangements for his bands. He stepped onto the scene in 1956 with his first band, Johnny and the Dreamers, before he later established The Vibro-Tones band.

Munoz would go on to develop Northern Colorado Sound by introducing a horn section — leading to a cross-cultural “big band sound” that influenced other musicians. The Vibro-Tones band was one of the most popular acts in the region, and members from the band still continue to play today.

Eugene “Gene” Lucero

Eugene “Gene” Lucero served as the head of El Pro Premieres in the 1980’s where he influenced and promoted Chicano music in the region.

Throughout the state, Lucero worked tirelessly to introduce and promote Jazz, Latin Jazz and Salsa artists. He provided opportunities for local Chicano bands to showcase their work alongside performers like Tito Puente, Cal Tjader and Gato Barbrieri.

Mariachi Sol de mi Tierra de Juventino Romero

For more than 20 years, Juventino Romero and Mariachi Sol de Mi Tierra were considered to be one of the best mariachi groups in the state. They showed their influence on Chicano music through performances, their music and by being innovators.

They have served as guest instructors for Mariachi Correcaminos from Metropolitan State University of Denver.





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