|Mariachi Orgullo: Members|
Amy Adair is of Japanese, Cherokee, and Caucasian decent and has lived in Norman, OK since she was 10 years old. She began playing piano at age 4 and began playing violin in 5th grade. She attended the University of Oklahoma, where she earned a Bachelor's Degree in Music Education and teaches for the Sooner String Project through the University. Aside from teaching and performing with Mariachi Orgullo, Amy raises her two children. Amy joined Mariachi Orgullo in March 2005. What Amy likes about joining Mariachi Orgullo de America is the opportunity to play music again and the friendships she has made.
Clay Zapata -
My name is Clay Zapata and originally from Chicago, Ill. I started playing trumpet while in high school. I also had the opportunity to listen to mariachi groups as well as famous singing stars from Mexico. From those experiences, I decided that if I ever had the chance I would play in one. In the meantime, I have enjoyed playing in community bands and church groups the past few years here in Oklahoma City, OK. Then, I had the opportunity to join the group about two years ago. I have really enjoyed playing in the mariachi and the friendship with the talented members of the group! I also like meeting and talking with the people at the gigs that we play throughout the state of Oklahoma on weekends. During the week, I work as a civilian at Tinker Air Force Base
Kevin Stringfellow - (photo and bio to come)
Francesca Quintilla Mosley was born in Sacramento, CA, but was raised in Norman, OK. She is of African American, Native American (Chickasaw & Choctaw), Mexican, and German decent. She has played the violin since the 5th grade. Upon graduating from Norman North High School in 2004, Francesca attended the University of Central Oklahoma for two years to study Forensic Science,but then went to the University of Oklahoma to pursue a degree in Music Education were she taught the beginning class for violin and viola with the Sooner String Project. In 2008, she returned to the University of Central Oklahoma to continue pursuing her degree in Forensic Science and graduated in 2009.
Juan Santana Garcia was born in Monterrey, Nuevo León, México on July 26, 1962. As a child, he saved up his money and bought his first guitar. He began studying guitar on his own. When he was thirteen years old, he moved to Lubbock, TX. There he worked as a radio personality for KLFB and KCLR. During this time he also performed with Mariachi Flores as a singer and song writer. In 1988 in addition to performing with Mariachi Flores, Juan began performing with Israel Barantes. Together they formed a tropical music group called Algeria 88. They performed together for four years until Juan decided to move to Oklahoma. In 1994, Juan joined a group called Conjunto Regional Hermanos Rios. Currently, Juan performs with Mariachi Orgullo de América and operates his own roofing and remodeling company. He is also the father of nine children. Juan feels that joining Mariachi Orgullo has been a satisfying experience and is very proud to be a part of the group.
Julio Gascon was born in El Paso, TX and is from Mexican decent. His mother is from Delicias, Chihuahua and his father is from San Juan De Los Lagos,Jalisco. He began playing the saxophone in the 6th grade. Shortly after, he began playing guitar, vihuela, and trumpet. He performed at the music programs in Donna High School in Rio Grande Valley, TX from 1997-2001. He joined Mariachi Orgullo in 2006 and feels that joining this group allows him to interpret a tradition that will never end.
Maria Belen Ruffin was born in Oklahoma City, OK. She is from Spanish, Sicilian, and Mexican decent. She began playing violin in 3rd grade. She graduated from the Classen School of Advance Studies. She has participated in several orchestras including Classen HS orchestra, All State, Oklahoma Youth Orchestra, NCHL, and Tri State. She currently attends Oklahoma City Community College majoring in nursing. She began playing with Mariachi Orgullo in Oct 2005. What Maria Belen likes most about playing with Mariachi Orgullo is performing fun music and dancing, the opportunity to perform in front of an audience, to show her talent, and the sense of family among the other musicians.
Justus Johnston - (photo coming)
Justus Johnston was born in Memphis, TN in 1979 and raised Jewish. He started the violin at the age of 5. After moving to Oklahoma at age 12, he became heavily involved with the local music world and won many awards for his musical abilities. His fondest memories of being a music student are writing music to play with his friends in the orchestra to play together and conducting the orchestra in some of his own music during his senior year of high school.
Justus attended Oklahoma City University for four years, where he studied violin and music composition. After college, he decided to get involved in recording, and became a professional sound engineer/music producer; eventually he even taught classes. What followed next was several years of working a vast variety of jobs, including producing the audio for talk shows on TBN, directing voice acting/sound effects/Foley for animation, running front-of-house sound for a number of churches and rock venues, and working with incredibly diverse musical talent from many locales and many genres in the studio. In 2007, he decided to return to school to study electrical engineering.
Justus met Robert Ruiz in November 2008, at a Game Stop at the Sooner Mall in Norman while he was carrying his violin case. Robert walked up to Justus and asked "Can you actually play that thing?" Justus was used to hearing this type of question and responded with his standard deadpan answer of "Yes, and I'm pretty good at it too." Much to Justus' surprise, Robert responded with an equally blunt response: "Then you should play with my band." The rest, as they say, is history.
Paul Gomez - (photo coming)
I was born in Lawton, Oklahoma to Paul R. Gomez, Sr. and Delphine Parton Gomez. My father is Mexican-American, born and raised in Anardarko, Oklahoma and my mother is Native American from the Caddo Nation of Oklahoma and was born in Binger, Oklahoma. My father was military and we were stationed in many locations. While in Germany I picked up playing the guitar. One Christmas my father surprised me with an electric bass guitar. I began playing the bass from that point on listening to the Motown sounds, rhythm and blues and the current top forty hits. I played in a group while there and later when we returned to Lawton. I came to Oklahoma City in 2005 to work after leaving Dallas, Texas to take care of my ailing sister and mother, who have since passed away. Through my uncle Ernie, I became acquainted with Mariachi Orgullo and found out they were going to need a guitarron player in the near future. Greg Hallman, the original guitarron player and I got acquainted and I mentioned I played bass and he asked if I would be interested in playing in his absence and I said maybe. I really didn’t know what I was getting into.
Though I am both of Mexican-American and Native American heritage, I had never really listened to Mariachi music until after I attended the 2006 Mariachi Festival concert in Oklahoma City where Mariachi Cobre performed, I instantly fell in love with the music. Mariachi Orgullo de America also performed and was very good. At that moment I had no idea I would be playing Mariachi. After I joined the group, I immersed myself into the music and met the challenge of playing the difficult instrument. I had been raised in the American and Native American cultures until I met up with Mariachi Orgullo. They accepted me as a musician and now are teaching me my Mexican culture through this wonderful music. Mariachi has been described as the soul of the Mexican people and culture. I am proud to be playing this beautiful music of my Mexican heritage. My father has always wanted me to get involved in Mexican music and finally his wish is fulfilled. I know he is proud as I am proud in performing it.
Robert Ruiz was born in San Antonio, TX. He began playing trumpet in 6th grade, and joined the Spanish church choir at St. Bridget's Catholic Church soon after. He joined Mariachi Estrellas de Tejas when he was twelve-years-old and began singing as well. He then went on to play for Mariachi Azteca and started his own group as a senior in high school called Mariachi Almas de Oro. He arranged music, played guitar and sang for the group.
He came to the University of Oklahoma as a National Scholar in pursuit of an engineering degree in computer science. His freshman year, Robert co-founded the first OU Latin ensemble, Echos de las Américas.
In 2002, Robert and a group of other individuals founded Mariachi Orgullo de América. Soon after he helped found Son del Barrio and established Enye Music. He is also the owner of Enye Group and is a Partner for Enye Media and ARES Studio. Robert is now the musical director of Mariachi Orgullo de America and is extremely proud of the group's diversity, and being able to have his family so close to the music he loves.
Wilmari Ruiz was born in Wichita, KS. Because her father was in the Air Force, she was raised throughout the US. She began playing piano at age seven but switched to flute at age nine. She performed in junior high and high school playing in Concert Band and Marching Band. She graduated from Midwest City High School and began attend the University of Oklahoma. Currently she is the Director of Operations for Énye Media, Énye Music, and ARES recording studio. She performs in Mariachi Orgullo de America and Son del Barrio, and is a student at the University of Phoenix majoring in marketing. What joining Mariachi Orgullo de América means to her is the knowledge that she gains about her husband's culture and sharing it with their four children.
Elizabeth Lyon is originally from Erie, Pennsylvania, where both of her parents teach music. Elizabeth began studying the violin at the age of three, and at age 10 she enrolled in the Preparatory Division of the Cleveland Institute of Music. She graduated from the University of Oklahoma, where she was a National Merit Scholar, with degrees in both music and English literature. Aside from her work with Mariachi Orgullo, Elizabeth performs with the Ft. Smith (Arkansas) Symphony Orchestra, the Oklahoma City Philharmonic, the Lawton Philharmonic, the Tulsa Philharmonic, the Erie Chamber Orchestra, and the Erie Philharmonic. When she is not performing, Elizabeth gives private violin lessons in Norman, OK.
Mike Gillispie – 2008-2009
Virginia Hodnet - 2008
Andres Lucas - Guitar - 2004
Anne Coweles - Violin - 2003
Chris Black - Guitarron - 2003-2005
Denise Duong - Violin - 2002-2003.
Eric Sanford - Trumpet - 2002-2004
Freddy Torres - Violin - 2003
Jorge Hernández - Trumpet - 2002-2007
Jose Solis-Chong - Guitar - 2002-2005
Sheaukang Hew - Violin - 2002-2004
Sofia Padron - Trumpet - 2004-2006
Thea Black - Violin - 2003
Tina Duong - Violin - 2002-2004