The final Performing Arts Series Summer Socorro Sessions features a familiar 4th of July celebration band: Suavecito is a returning favorite at the annual New Mexico Tech community event.
The only difference this year is that the music will be online and the fireworks will be from the top of M Mountain. While the Socorro community usually takes in the display from the New Mexico Tech Golf Course, the course will not be available for spectators this year. In order to protect the health and wellbeing of the Socorro community, the main campus is also closed for viewing of the fireworks, as well as all other 4th of July festivities.
Suavecito is the last band scheduled for the live-stream Socorro Sessions on Sunday, June 28 at 4 p.m. at Facebook.com/NMTPAS and the “NMT Performing Arts Series” YouTube site.
Suavecito has shared stages with Al Hurricane and Al Hurricane Jr., Tobias Rene and Darren Cordova, as well as head-lining the event. Last year they performed for Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s inaugural ball in Santa Fe.
Individual members have played with many other luminaries, and it’s easy to see that band members simply really enjoy playing and making music with each other.
The six-piece variety band of Socorroans is managed by drummer Anthony Lukesh; with lead singer Lorenzo “Porky” Valenzuela; Carl Lukesh and Ronnie Silva on guitars; Danny Jojola on keyboard and bass, and Lefty Gonzales with rhythm guitar and vocals.
“We do a lot of charity events, which not a lot of bands do these days,” Anthony said. “Everyone really puts their heart and a lot of work into perfecting their musical performance. It’s great to share the stage with these talented musicians.”
Porky, the elder statesman of the group, has been active in the local and state music scenes for 45 of his 67 years; many remember the years he spent with Nite Fall and La Raza Unida.
Anthony formed the group eight years ago, and enjoys playing with his family the most. He has performed with Al Hurricane, Al Hurricane Jr, Straight Shot, Triple Shot, Austin Van, Brahma Band, Kyle Martin, Tanya Griego and Power Drive.
He also performed in the Quince Grande Award Show alongside many talented New Mexico musicians.
Carl Lukesh was only nine years old when he started playing with his uncle, Clifford Lukesh. His son begged him to pick up his guitar again and after more than 10 years in musical retirement, he agreed.
“If we surround ourselves with good people, good things will happen,” Lukesh said. “Danny, Porky, Anthony, Ronnie, Lefty, everyone, it’s all family. It’s been the best thing.”
Ronnie Silva is a retired Navy Veteran and has played since he was 11.
Silva says the Beatles “pushed the play button on my life,” and he admired Santana and Chicago’s Terry Kath. Ronnie played with Lukesh and the late Anthony Rosas.
“I love spending time with these guys whether we’re playing or not,” Silva said.” And I am grateful for the opportunity they’ve given me.”
“He is one of the best musicians I’ve ever performed with” Lukesh said.
Unlike his fellow band members, Danny Jojola didn’t start life with a musical family. He played keyboard and drums in high school and has garnered an excellent reputation as a multi-faceted keyboard player, gaining experience playing with a variety of bands statewide.
Native Socorroan Lefty Gonzales played with Rosas and Silva before moving to Oregon. There, he played with the Legends of Western Swing to include acts such as Ray Price, Chet Atkins, Johnny Bush, and the Texas Playboys, but when he returned to Socorro, he jumped at the chance to play with his primos.
“They are good musicians and are critical of the music they play” Gonzales said.
Suavecito is the last of this installment of Socorro Sessions. Performing Arts Series Director Ronna Kalish said, “I hope to continue with regularly featuring Socorro-area bands at Macey Center.”
The entire Socorro Sessions series will be mixed and replayed on the Fourth of July as Socorro’s 28th (and 1st) Stay-At-Home Virtual Concert and Fireworks.
The annual 4th of July fireworks display will take place this year, with an adjustment.
In order to ensure everyone can see the display while practicing proper social distancing in accordance with New Mexico’s COVID-19 guidelines, the fireworks will be relocated to near the top of M Mountain. This will allow the Socorro community to take in the fireworks from the comfort of their homes.
The final live-streamed concert is this Sunday at 4 p.m. and accessible through facebook.com/NMTPAS and the “NMT Performing Arts Series” YouTube site. For more information, call 575-835-5688 or visit nmt.edu/pas