Flock of 5,000 Golden Eagles takes flight
The 2009 class included several standout students who covered the spectrum, from the University’s youngest graduate — 17-year-old Andrea Kulier who is heading to Princeton University this fall to pursue a Ph.D. in theoretical cosmology — to its most “senior” student, Richard Yao Tang Chen, 87, who accepted two bachelor’s degrees: criminal justice and Chinese.
Congratulations graduates and we look forward to hearing and writing about your successes well into the future! If you missed the ceremonies or want to relive them, you can order a DVD through the Alumni Association, at http://alumni.calstatela.edu/merchandise/commencement_video.htm.
Mariachi makes music for students
Erica Rodriguez and Efrain Andrade, members of the Golden Eagle Mariachi in performance with the mariachi band on the USU outdoor stage in March.
A new, eight-member mariachi ensemble is garnering attention on campus, in theater productions and on television airways.
The Golden Eagle Mariachi, or Mariachi Águila Dorada as it is known in Spanish, consists of three violins, two trumpets, a guitarrón (acoustic bass), a guitar and a vihuela (small five-string guitar). The student group formed in 2008 out of a three-unit beginning mariachi course — the course is open to all students by auditions and fulfills performance class requirements.
The mariachi music program was developed through the combined efforts of Provost Desdemona Cardoza, Music Department Chair George DeGraffenreid, Music Professor and Paul De Castro. The program joins already established music ensembles in Afro Latin and Afro Latin Percussion.
“It makes sense for a mariachi music program to be offered on our campus, particularly with our demographic and the communities we serve,” Cardoza said.
A gathering of ‘REEL’ importance
Several hundred people from the campus community, surrounding cities and entertainment industry were drawn to campus for the sixth annual Reel Rasquache, the University’s film festival showcasing the Latino experience in the United States.
The three-day film festival featured screenings in all formats and genres, including webisodes from across the country, filmmaking workshops, multimedia/spoken-word, live music and networking receptions. Many members of the original “Zoot Suite” cast, as well as Esai Morales — the star of “La Bamba” — also attended.
This year’s theme, “Reel Visions”, was a celebration of how U.S. Latinos are using film, video and digital technology to create visions and inspire perceptions of and about Latinos worldwide. It is the first exhibition forum on the West Coast — and the only one in Southern California — to focus exclusively on the U.S. Latino experience in film.
Among the highlights of this year’s event were the honoring the outstanding playwright, screenwriter, director and actor Luis Valdez — a California State University, San Jose alum — and the premier of “Las Grandes de East L.A. and Boyle Heights.” The film, which was the result of a collaborative community, artistic and University effort, documents the lives of five women who strengthen their communities through cultural preservation, social activism and community improvement projects.