Reynaldo Maestas performs during a Mother’s Day mariachi concert in Highlands’ Ilfeld Auditorium.
Las Vegas, N.M. — New Mexico Highlands University graduate Reynaldo Maestas is bound for the Summer Olympics in London where he will perform as a mariachi vocalist at the Windsor Castle and the Olympic Village.
Maestas, a tenor, will take the stage as the primary vocalist for Mariachi Buenaventura, a Santa Fe group that will accompany Baila! Baila! Ballet Folklorico of Albuquerque. He performs extensively with both groups.
“It’s a thrilling dream come true to be performing at the Olympics to an international audience,” Maestas said. “It’s a huge honor to be representing New Mexico as well as the United States.”
Baila! Baila! Is New Mexico’s premier ballet folklorico and is renowned internationally for its traditional Mexican folk dances. The group performed at the 2000 Sydney Summer Olympics and was invited to return, this time with live mariachi music.
Baila! Baila! and the Olympic Entertainment Committee invited Maestas and Buenaventura to accompany the ballet folklorico.
Maestas, 29, who grew up on a ranch near Rociada, N.M., lives in Albuquerque. He earned his B.A. in business and an M.B.A. from Highlands, and also studied at a university in Mexico and one in Spain.
Maestas developed his love of music at an early age and by 14 was performing solos of canticos — Spanish hymns — at his church. He trained with New Mexico musical legend Antonia Apodaca, his neighbor and mentor.
“Mariachi is a beautiful, unique music that speaks to the soul,” Maestas said. “I love the tradition of mariachi and it’s a huge part of my life – I live, breathe and sweat mariachi.
“It’s very rewarding to have this Olympic opportunity to share mariachi music as part of a younger generation of performers who are working to preserve our culture and heritage,” Maestas said.
In New Mexico, Maestas is building a following as a leading mariachi entertainer. He is a regular vocal soloist at the Lensic Performing Arts Center for Santa Fe Fiestas and the Villa Hispana courtyard theatre for the state fair. Other venues include the Santa Fe Opera and the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque.
Recently, Maestas returned home to perform at the Las Vegas Fiestas.
Maestas was nominated for seven New Mexico Hispano music awards and has recorded two CDs. After the Olympics, he’ll focus on his third CD.
Three other Las Vegas area musicians will also board the plane for London to play with Mariachi Buenaventura. Mother-daughter duo Emily Maestas and Dorothy Lanphere play trumpet and James Leger plays guitarron.
Mariachi Buenaventura formed in 2005 and represented New Mexico in the Choral Olympics in Austria. It has toured in Europe and its following in New Mexico is growing through venues like the Santa Fe Fiestas.