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Frontera: Music in El Paso

Centralized guide to all EPCC's local history publications, videos and guides and sources for local history topics

Borderlands Volume 38: The Music Edition

Potential Topics: Music in El Paso (2021 Theme)

Bands and Musical Styles

The Chamanas 2013-
Fungi Mungle (70s disco band)
Mars Volta and Zechs Marquise (related bands)
Maybelle's Knighthawks  see Stoltz Blues Chasers entry below
Música Tejana and Música Norteña
Nite (or Night) Dreamers (band) / Sonny Powell
Ray Camacho Band -- Leader from San Elizario
River City Band  Cover band 1980s-1990s played at Tejano Legends concert series at the Plaza

Rhythmheirs (or Rhythmairs)  Teen band in the late 1950s from the Segundo Barrio / Eugene Anchondo

Los Silver  was a band that originated in our neighbor city of Ciudad Juarez in 1962 and continue to perform.  The group recorded countless music, and is an icon for El Paso and Ciudad Juarez.
Stoltz Blues Chaser / Maybelle's Knighthawks early 1900s band
Ward, Jim  Founding member of the bands At the Drive-In, Sleepercar and Sparta/restaurateur and more

Windfall (Band) and Balloons, their nightclub 

Check for articles before 1999.  Example:  El Paso times 26 Sep 1986, pg 51

Concert Series

Alfresco Fridays
Border Legends of El Paso Rock n' Roll   Concert series produced by Rick Kern and Rod Crosby, ran from 2008-2016.
Cool Canyon Nights
Music Under the Stars  public music program at the Chamizal National Park for more than three decades
Neon Desert music festival
Parks and Recreation Concert Series
Viva el Paso!  in McKelligon Canyon amphitheater

Disc Jockeys & Personalities

Kage, Johnny  Local DJ
KLAQ and DJs  past and present:  Buzz Adams and his former El Paso DJ Jeffrey Scott
Preston, "Sarge" Mike Local DJ since 1971

Labels & Studios

Catfood Records / Bob Trenchard El Paso record label owned by Bob Trenchard, bassist, songwriter, producer
Sonic Ranch Studio on Alameda headed toward Tornillo. They have worked with many top recording artists to include ZZ Top among others.
Star City Studio Productions Opened in 2016 by Buddy Winston of the band PT and the Cruisers and his wife Pat Olchefski-Winston.  They have several studios for musicians to record, including one big enough for events, and an art gallery featuring the work of Pat Winston and others.  See also PT and the Cruisers in the list.

Nightclubs & Venues


El Paso Border Chorders --  El Paso's second-oldest continuous musical performing group behind the El Paso Symphony Orchestra
El Paso Chamber Music Society  1920s-1940s  Roscoe Conkling and Robert Semon involved (see below)
El Paso Conservatory of Music (two organizations in El Paso's history: current and previous) 
El Paso School of Music, started by Robert and Adela Semon
El Paso Society for Musicians of the Future 

Performers & Conductors

Chavez, Abraham  revered conductor, educator
Conkling, Margaret  and husband Roscoe, accomplished musicians, prominent in El Paso music 1920s-1940s
Gomez, Monica  longime performer, songwriter and more. Host of KTEP's State of the Arts program.
Randy Granger  Award-winning, singer/songwriter and musician in southern New Mexico
Hunter, Long John Blues guitarist from the late 1950s to the 1980s in El Paso/Juarez area
Lambert, Dan  Jazz Guitar performer and guitar rebuilder
Miller, Matt / Sparta (Band)  bassist
Monk Drums / Jacob Neria
Moore, Francis Internationally known concert pianist whose sister was Kate Moore Brown (written about in Borderlands).  They were both well known in the early El Paso music scene. 
Nehring, Bruce and the Bruce Nehring Consort
Otero, Mario   Guitar player
Pando, B.J.  singer, songwriter, producer
Schyga, Stephan  Acoustic Guitar Performer, Composer, Producer, Teacher
Semon, Robert 1914-2010  Founder of the El Paso School of Music (1959-2004) and the El Paso Chamber Society and much more

Professors / Teachers / Stores

All That Music  -- El Paso's largest and longest-running independently owned music store and marketplace.  Owner George Reynoso. Opened 1980

Booth, Samantha and Robert -- Robert was a longtime UTEP professor who passed away in 2003.  Samantha was a music teacher.
Caranda, Mike pianist and band leader.  Passed away in 2010 at the age of 92. "Caranda entertained local audiences since moving to El Paso in 1969. He led the Mike Caranda Big Band Orchestra until 2007. "
Capshaw Olivas Music and family members
Kurland Salzman Music Co
Kubala, Lorraine longtime school band director / music writer
Ponikvar, Nellie  longtime band director/fine arts administrator
White's Music Box started in 1948
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