California State University, Northridge will celebrate the 45th anniversary of the founding of its Department of Chicana/o Studies with a benefit concert, scheduled to take place on Saturday, Oct. 25, at 7 p.m. at the university’s Plaza del Sol Performance Hall.
The CSUN Chicana/o Studies Department with a strong history of student activism and leadership, is the largest in the nation and the second largest department in the College of Humanities. There are 23 full-time faculty with PhDs across the disciplines, and offers 140 sections of Chicana/o Studies courses per semester which serves thousands of students each semester. The goal for this event is help defray the rising tuition costs for students.
The evening will commemorate the interdisciplinary academic nature of the department and its work in successfully cultivating Mexican musical, song and dance traditions. The night’s master of ceremonies will be Spanish-language radio and television personality José Ronstadt.
The celebration also will shine the spotlight on CSUN faculty members, alumni and associates who have achieved regional, national and international recognition for their teaching and performance. The concert will include performances by Conjunto Hueyapan, Ixya Herrera, Veto Ruiz, Ballet Folklorico Ollin and Mariachi Estrella de Jalisco de Ernesto Molina.
“Since its establishment, the Department of Chicana/o Studies has offered both lecture and practicum courses in the fields of traditional Mexican music, song and dance,” said CSUN Chicana/o Studies professor Fermín Herrera. “It has also sponsored workshops, symposia, recitals and concerts covering many facets of Mexican musical heritage: sones jarochos, sones huastecos, sones de mariachi, sones abajeños, banda, norteño, marimba, salterio, rondalla, huapangos, pirecuas, boleros,corridos, cancione clásicas and canciones rancheras.”
The evening will include performances of Mexican narrative songs, corridos, by professor Everto Ruiz and Conjunto Aztlan, an ensemble founded in the late 1960s through the sponsorship of the Chicana/o Studies department and which includes department alumni. Harp, requinto and jarana music, son jarocho, will be performed by Conjunto Hueyapan, which is comprised of Herrera as director and María Isabel Herrera, Xocoyotzin Herrera, Xilomen Herrera and others.
The concert also will feature traditional Mexican dance in the jarocho mariachi style by the acclaimed Ballet Folklórico Ollin, a dance company that was first established by CSUN alumna Virginia Diediker when she was a student years ago. The dance troupe first began as a Chicano studies class project. Additionally, traditional Mexican songs will be performed by vocal artist Ixya Herrera, also a department alumna; and sones de mariachi by Mariachi Estrella de Jalisco de Ernesto Molina, an ensemble that has worked closely with some of the department’s faculty.
The Department has not only developed top musicians and performers but is credited for changing the lives of thousands of students.
“While many people ask what you can do with a degree in Chicano Studies, we have a long track record of students and graduates from our department who have been successful in every field,” said Department Chair Dr. Mary Pardo.
“Many of our alumni are now teachers, attorneys, social workers and community leaders. One of our graduates, Humberto Guizar is a civil rights attorney, Rafael Gonzalez is the director for Best Start Communities for First 5 LA.”
It’s also noted the CSUN Chicana/o Studies Department has students with varied interests and alumni who now work in a variety of fields including business, medicine and media. Actor Eva Longoria received her Masters Degree from the Chicana/o Studies Department.
“The interdisciplinary nature of our department includes the performing arts and the performers for this concert include our faculty and alumni who are internationally recognized in the arts. Some of the musicians are now teachers who have started performance groups at middle schools and high schools,” Pardo said.
“With support, this benefit concert will help us to replenish our endowment for much needed student scholarships.”
All ticket proceeds benefit the CSUN MEChA Scholarship Fund, Ignacio Pulido Scholarship Fund and the Adrian and Ezekial Rodriguez Scholarship Fund. Tickets may be purchased at the Department of Chicana/o Studies‘ office in Jerome Richfield Hall, Room 148, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. To reach the department, call (818) 677-2734.
Tickets are also available at CSUN’s Associated Students’ Ticket office in the University Student Union, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday. To reach the ticket office, call (818) 677-2488.The Plaza del Sol Performance Hall box office also will be selling tickets the night of the event, beginning at 6 p.m.
Parking for Plaza del Sol Performance Hall is located in the G3 parking structure. The G3 parking structure can be accessed by entering Prairie Street from Zelzah Avenue. Parking passes are $6 and can be purchased at machines within each parking structure or Information Booth 3, located on Prairie Street off Zelzah Avenue. Parking passes can also be pre-purchased at The Permit Store online.