SAN BENITO — The Narciso Martinez Cultural Arts Center proudly announces the performance of 18-year-old San Benito High School senior Christina Valdez, accordionist for Conjunto Los Latinos and The San Benito High School Conjunto Estrella.
After a standing room only audience for last month’s 3rd Thursday Conjunto Nights with San Antonio’s Eva Ybarra, the group was finding it difficult to locate an act to follow Eva’s great performance.
But with so much talent in the world of conjunto music, it was easy to decide to feature San Benito High School senior Christina Valdez.
Christina has been playing accordion since she was 11 years old.
Born into the household of Refugio and Mary Valdez, it was Christina’s father who came from a family of musicians who was going to become her guide into the world of conjunto music.
Refugio states that as a toddler Christina was absorbed by the world of music as he was developing his own conjunto Los Latinos.
Christina’s first was Juan Lugo, accordion teacher for The Narciso Martinez Cultural Arts Center for the past teachers. Christina’s father brought her to Juan for lessons.
It was Juan who then called Refugio to tell him to get to the Center so he could see how fast his daughter had learned to play.
It was at Miller Jordan Middle School in the San Benito School District conjunto program the tutelage of Marcos Pescina that Christina would continue learning to play the accordion and performing with the school’s Conjunto Estrella.
She credits Juan Lugo for teaching her a lot of music and states he was great and very patient.
In May of 2011, Christina was a semi-finalist at the Texas Folklife Resource Big Squeeze contest at the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin, Texas.
While Christina did not advance to the finals she was competing with another accomplished accordionist from San Benito.
Gloria Jean Cantu, as well as Peter Anzaldua from Brownsville, formally with Velocidad and now accordionist with The Garcia Brothers.
Nachito Morales from Dallas, who now heads his own conjunto was also in the competition.
Christina was also able to observe the performance of veteran conjuntos like Max Baca and Los Texmanics, master accordionist Joel Guzman, and Juan Tejeda and Conjunto Aztlan.
Los Latinos are finishing their first CD and they are performing locally.