Our “Conjunto in the Community” program focuses on educating and exposing our audiences to conjunto music. We seek venues for our students to perform publicly to showcase their skills and expose the community at large to this genre by providing music and education to the public. Many city-wide residents of San Antonio and visitors of our city are exposed to our performances, and thus are educated and entertained in this musical genre, which is indigenous to this region and has been the music of working class Mexican Americans for generations. Keeping this music alive is particularly important in a city whose population, per the last U.S. Census, is over 60% Latino, with a median household income of $43K, compared to 50K nationally.
CHT hosts an annual “Tardeada” through which our entire student body is able to showcase their skills. During our annual event and other city-wide events we partake in, we provide a brief oral history of conjunto music, sometimes supported by visuals if the venue/event allows. Our Artistic Director and co-founder, Rudy Lopez, often emcees our performances and shares information about the genre as well as the songs and original songwriters. In past tardeadas, we have incorporated theatrical pieces and photography exhibits focussed on conjunto music. During our Conjunto 300 event in 2018, we featured a photography exhibit displayed in ART//CRAFT (a mobile art gallery), showcasing conjunto focused works of cultural documentary photographer, Al Rendon!
The objective of our last “Tardeada” as part of the San Antonio Tricentennial was to educate San Antonio residents and tourists about the role conjunto music has played in the history of this region. Aside from musical performances, the event included a special presentation of Nicolás Valdez’s production, Conjunto Blues, an exploration of the social and historical conditions that led to the development of Conjunto music as an expression of cultural resistance and liberation.