MacArthur Ninth Grade, High School Collaborate to Honor Selena Quintanilla-Pérez With Tribute Performance
The students at the two campuses weren’t even born when Selena reigned as “Queen of Tejano Music.” It has been 20 years since her death, yet Selena’s legacy lives on today.
Billboard magazine named Selena the “top Latin artist of the ’90s.” She ranks among the most influential Latin artists of all-time. According to Texas Monthly, Selena’s brother A.B. Quintanilla modernized her music into a more “funk and hip hop” sound.
Selena helped redefine Latin music and its subgenres of Tejano, Cumbia, and Latin pop. Her album Entre a Mi Mundo (1992) was critically acclaimed. Music critics consider it her “breakthrough album. It became the first Tejano album by a female artist to out sell those of male Tejano singers. The album produced four number one singles: “Como la flor,” “¿Qué creías?” “La carcacha,” and “Ámame.” The lead single, “Como la flor,” became Selena’s signature recording.
Amor Prohíbido (1994) became one of the best-selling Latin albums in the United States. It produced a number hits: the title track, “Bidi bidi bom bom,” “No me queda más,” “El chico del apartamento 512,” and “Fotos y recuerdos.” Amor Prohíbido was among the best selling U.S. albums of 1995.
The MacArthur Ninth Grade School Dance Company chose to celebrate Selena’s legacy. To prepare, the dance members spent many hours researching Selena’s life and career. At the same time, dance director Elisa de la Rosa worked on choreography. They worked to create an original tribute production entitled Selena Forever. The production featured many of Selena’s songs mentioned above. Also included were “Dreaming of You,” and “Techno Cumbia.”
The production was a collaborative effort. The dance company worked with the Fine Arts Department at MacArthur High School. Theater director Jessica Schultz worked with freshman drama students. She created original skits and monologues for the two-hour production. Choir directors Danielle Stadick and Micah Schirado as well as band director José Díaz also took part for the performance at Talento Bilingüe de Houston. The jazz band worked on pieces to perform in the lobby before the show in the lobby. And the choir rehearsed to perform a mash up of Selena’s songs along with three soloists.
The production first debuted at MacArthur Ninth Grade School April 20-22. The group performed a shorten version of the production for the entire student body.
But the big production took place at Talento Bilingüe de Houston. There the group performed the full two-hour performance on April 24 to a sold out crowd.
Ms. de la Rosa is proud of the production. According to de la Rosa, Javier Pérez lauded the performance. Pérez serves as executive director of Talento Bilingüe de Houston.
“Mr. Pérez stated that MacArthur’s performance was beyond amazing,” de la Rosa said. “He even compared the production to the work of professional artists. I could not be more proud of the students and staff that worked so hard to make the production a success.“
This was the first collaboration between de la Rosa, Schultz, Stadick, Schirado, and Díaz. With the success of Selena Forever, the directors hope to collaborate on future productions.