Grammy winner Bob Gallarza headlines downtown Victoria Cinco de Mayo festival
May 2, 2012 at 12:02 a.m.
Bob Gallarza may be a guitar player from Los Angeles, but his move to the Lone Star State gave him a taste of Tejano sound. He fell in love.
Throughout his 40-year career, the Woodlands-based musician has played in the White House, on Broadway and in Europe.
On Saturday, the Grammy-award winning musician will hit the stage in Victoria.
"I, arguably, have the best band to offer this genre of music," he said of his 10-piece group.
More commonly known as a record producer, Gallarza plays occasionally.
He said he is delighted to return to the Crossroads. Previously, he's performed at the Jazz Fest and local benefit concerts.
"I thought it was cool to be able to do this for the city," he said.
The 56-year-old Gallarza and Jimmy Edwards will headline the Cinco de Mayo festival in DeLeon Plaza on Saturday.
Organizers from the Minority Business Council, a part of the Victoria Chamber of Commerce, made several changes to the upcoming event.
"After being criticized last year, we went back to tradition," said Lisa Hernandez, an event chairwoman.
In an attempt to be more diverse, they had a country musician, but were criticized. So now they are back to the more traditional Tejano music, an important aspect of Mexican culture.
Some of the other acts include Victoria East High School hip-hop team, VISD Ballet Folklorico and Mariachi, Conjunto Kidz, Dotado, Kristals, Chente Barrera, and YMCA Zumba Dancers.
Other changes include the festival moving back downtown, where there will be more vendors than in the past and no admission will be charged to attend.
Attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs.
There will be 40 vendors, six inflatables, face-painting and other children activities.
Hernandez said the festival has attracted as many as 6,000 people in the past.
Proceeds from the festival help fund scholarships.
Since Hernandez has been on the committee, she said $80,000 have been awarded and is hoping for a large crowd.
"The more people that come out, the more we're able to give back to the youth," she said.
Ralph Gonzales, of Victoria, helped to bring Gallarza to the festival. He said the featured artist strikes the perfect balance to attract a diverse crowd.
"He's got that kind of versatility to do Tejano, jazz and R & B," Gonzales said.
Gallarza developed his musical inclination as a child. His grandfather gave him his first Spanish guitar.
The budding musician, then, started playing for the neighborhood. He picked up Mel Bay music instruction books and taught himself to play.
The lead guitarist with 60s sensation 5th Dimension, Gallarza said he's humbled to be asked to participate. He loves the festival vibe.
"I look forward to seeing my fans and making some new ones," he said.