Induction time: Five stars to be added to Conjunto Hall of Fame

SAN BENITO — The stars will be shining tomorrow night.

This year’s inductees into the Texas Conjunto Music Hall of Fame are none other than June P. Garcia, Juan Tejeda, David Farias, Julian Figueroa and Juan Tovar.

The museum will host its 15th Annual Texas Conjunto Music Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony tomorrow night, with these five prominent personalities to be featured at the awards presentation.

All will join other Conjunto pioneers who are credited with capturing the spirit and dedication to this classic genre of musical entertainment.

Events kick off at 6 p.m. when the doors open at the Knights of Columbus Hall at 826 E. Stenger in San Benito.

The awards presentation is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m., and will be followed by a dance from 8:30 p.m. until midnight.

Music will be provided by Ruben De La Cruz y Su Conjunto.

De La Cruz and his group will receive the STCA “Conjunto Ambassador Award” during the 6th Annual STCA Freddie Gomez Memorial Conjunto Concert scheduled on Labor Day weekend in Brownsville for his dedication to conjunto music.

Tickets are $10 per person, and reservations for tables of eight can be purchased in advance for $80.

For more information and tickets call 956-245-1666 or email reyavila@sbcglobal.net.

David Farias is a San Antonio native known as the accordionist for La Tropa F and for Los Texmaniacs. The group earned a Grammy Award in 2009 for their album Borders y Bailes.

At age 8, he began playing professionally with the family band, Los Hermanos Farías.

Farías left La Tropa F in 2006, joining bajo sexto guitarist Max Baca as accordionist for Los Texmaniacs. Using jazz and blues licks to diversify their conjunto sound, the band toured the world playing for American troops abroad.

Julian Figueroa, a member of Los Fantasmas del Valle for 45 years, sang and played bajo sexto.

Born in 1945 in Mercedes, he dropped out of school in fifth grade to do migrant farm work with his parents. His lifelong friendship with Hector Barrón, also of Los Fantasmas, began in the mid-1950s.

In 1968 Figueroa and Barrón formed a band. Their name became Los Fantasmas del Valle during the recording of the song “Mis Pasos Andaran,” a ghostly tune about a man who dies and returns to haunt his girlfriend. Their most famous recording effort came in 1981, “Bellos Recuerdos,” a song that narrates the life of a farm worker during the 1940s.

June P. García, a bandleader for Conjunto Madrigal from Taft, Texas, Manuel P. García is better known as June P. García.

According to his parents, his love for music started at the age of 11 months when he began humming the tune to “Juan Charrasqueado.”

García joined El Conjunto Madrigal in 1964 when he was hired to sing songs in English. He progressed to duets in Spanish and in 1978, he took over the band.

A self-taught musician, he plays bajo sexto and sings. Many of the songs by Conjunto Madrigal are June P.’s originals. Along with performing Spanish classics like “Cruz de Olvido” and “La Mucura,” he still performs rock-and-roll oldies.

Juan Tejeda, an accordionist and vocalist for the Conjunto Aztlan, was born in 1953.

For 20 years, he was the Xicano music program director for San Antonio’s Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center where he created the internationally-recognized Tejano Conjunto Festival.

At the Guadalupe he also created and implemented community classes in Conjunto music and mariachi.

In 2002 as a professor at Palo Alto College in San Antonio he began directing the first college-level Conjunto program in the United States.

With Conjunto Aztlan, he traces his musical history to the Xicano Movement in 1977, when he took on the mission of heritage-based music education that has led him to write and lecture extensively on the history of Tejano and Conjunto music.

Juan Tovar, a vocalist and front man for Los Pobres, is from Brownsville.

At 15, he began singing professionally with the Conjunto band Los Falcones. Tovar says that he learned a lot of his musical discipline from listening to Freddy Gómez who sang with Los Dinámicos, a band led by Tovar’s uncle.

One of his most successful recording efforts was “No Me Se Rajar” which he recorded in 1983 with Falcón Records.

Tovar served in the U.S. Army and did a tour of duty in Vietnam. From 1984 to 1994, he taught physical education at Canales Elementary School in Brownsville.