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Texas A&M University Singing Cadets to perform

The Senior Ambassadors Men’s Chorus will welcome the Texas A&M Singing Cadets to the Rio Grande Valley on Thursday, January 9, 2020 for a performance at the Center Church (Formerly Trinity Worship Center) located at 4801 N. Cage Blvd., in Pharr.

Internationally known as the “Voice of Aggieland,” the Singing Cadets are Texas A&M University’s premier men’s chorus. The Singing Cadets celebrated their 125th anniversary in 2019. David L. Kipp is the 13th and current director of the 75-member men’s choral group. Under his leadership the Singing Cadets remain true to their traditionally crisp military style and diverse selection of music. The Cadets will perform American, military, sacred and Aggie-themed numbers.

Read more: Texas A&M University Singing Cadets to perform

Harlem Globetrotters bring “Pushing the Limits” tour to Edinburg

The world-famous Harlem Globetrotters will bring their new “Pushing the Limits” World Tour to Edinburg at Bert Ogden Arena on Saturday, February 29, 2020 at 7 p.m. Globetrotters’ fans will experience even bigger moments and memories, including a live world record attempt at each game. Plus, many markets will feature a glow in the dark performance.

Read more: Harlem Globetrotters bring “Pushing the Limits” tour to Edinburg

Chanukah concert in McAllen

The annual Chanukah Concert and Festival will be celebrated Monday, December23 at Archer Park in downtown McAllen. The festival begins at 4:30 p.m. and a concert starring Jewish pop-sensation Yoni Z will begin at 6 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Chanukah, an alternative spelling for Hanukkah, is the Jewish eight-day holiday commemorating the victory of the Jews “against Greek persecution and religious oppression,” according to torah.org. This year, Chanukah is celebrated from the evening of Sunday, December 22 until the evening of Monday, December 30.

Brooklyn-born Yoni Zigelboum, better known as Yoni Z, is topping charts with his catchy tunes about the relationship between man and God. At 28 years old he has already been in music for 13 years. Since 2012, he has toured worldwide. His YouTube channel has over 2.1 million views.

His Jewish ancestry survived the Holocaust. His father is of Eastern European Jewish descent, known as Ashkenazi Jews, and his mother’s family is of Middle Eastern or Mizrahi culture. He, himself, is a Hasidic Jew.

He was chosen as Israel’s Kikar HaShabbat’s Best New Artist of the Year and Music Video for the Israeli video UP in 2018. His first album, released in July 2018, has been called revolutionary for Jewish music. The album consists of 14 original songs that he participated in the songwriting and production on. His music has been released in several languages including Yiddish, English and Hebrew. Most of his music combines the beats of standard Western pop with Mizrahi music.

Weslaco celebrates Christmas, 100 years

20191218 img 0376 weslaco paradeAs the more than 100 entries into the Weslaco Christmas Parade began to line up in preparation for the 100th year celebration of the city, Bill and Cathy Ackermann found the perfect spot to watch the event

Seated on a corner spot, the Missouri couple, in the Valley for just their second winter, spilled the secret of finding the excellent spot.

“We got here an hour early,” Bill said. “We are looking forward to this.”

Searching out great spots and getting to destinations promptly probably was instilled in Bill (and therefore Cathy) sometime during his 21 years in the Navy, where he operated nuclear reactors on submarines.

“We love the Valley and we love our park,” Cathy said. “There are so many activities to do every day if you want to.”

Bill said he enjoys the RC races even though he hasn’t gotten fully invested with his own car. He said he might do that next year.

“Maybe next year,” echoed Cathy. “Maybe.”

They were just two of the hundreds who lined the parade route last week as part of the Weslaco Centennial celebration, a multi-day celebration that honored everything Weslaco, from the Tinaco Tower to the 1015 onion and the pioneer founding families of the Mid-Valley town that has seen explosive growth over the past decade.

Floats that were community built and decorated passed one by one, carrying politicians, athletes and other well-known Weslaco natives. Among those included Brandon Figueroa, who has held the WBA super bantamweight boxing championship belt since October and previously held the WBA interim title since April 2019.

High school, middle school and elementary school athletes, cheerleaders and bands were also a big hit, all promoting their school colors and mascots (purple Panthers for Weslaco High and black Wildcats for Weslaco East leading the prowl).

And what parade would be complete without a crew from Star Wars as people eagerly anticipate the final installment of that movie series, out this week.

Bruce Duff and his wife are from Buffalo, Missouri and were stationed right at the front of the parade route. They stay at the 1015 park and after the parade were probably going to go do something else they love while in the Valley.

“We love to go out to eat,” Bruce said. “There are so many places.”

Weslaco has a lot to offer and their parade and 100 year celebration showed that Weslaco loves their community.

McAllen Parade provided entertainment, stars, and music

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By Herb Moering

The pre-McAllen parade entertainment at Veterans Stadium on Saturday, Dec. 7, provided a taste of “Valley” musical traditions topped by the appearance of internationally known actor and singer Mane de la Parra.

He was accompanied by a couple hundred fourth and fifth grade students from all the McAllen elementary schools. The music students performed three numbers, two of them with de la Parra. Fourth graders Melanie Navarrete and Alyssa Vazquez, from Fields Elementary School, were excited to have a part in the early evening’s entertainment before several thousand spectators. Navarrete and Vazquez sported Santa hats provided to the students by Reliant Energy as part of the performance.

Opening the program on the field was a McAllen High School Fine Arts ensemble doing a song “Circle of Light,” which featured Alexa Ramirez. The song is from the Lion King Jr. production, which will be presented in mid-January by the students.

They were followed by a quintet from the Valley Symphony Orchestra, playing familiar Christmas songs. The full orchestra has already presented a couple concerts with future dates Feb. 28 and March 27.

A small group of UTRGV music students provided a taste of the popular TubaChristmas, one of the nation’s largest concert performances that was scheduled the next day at the McAllen Convention Center.20191218 dsc 0274 mcallen

And then it was parade time for the largest illuminated and helium balloon spectacle in all of Texas. It included 15 animated floats, 14 marching bands and 39-character balloons.

And among those most interested was Viva Selena Lopez, of McAllen, along with her mother, Mary Jane Lopez. The 24-year-old Viva Selena, who has been quite active in the community, was decked out in a Dallas Cowboys outfit of Number 4 Dak Prescott, the same of type shirt her mother was wearing. They are big Cowboys fans and Viva Selena has attracted the attention of some of the football players. A get-together two years ago went viral on the internet. Her mother said her daughter also is big on the Rio Grande Vipers basketball team, which has taken some interest in the special needs young woman.

Mayor Jim Darling addressed the crowd aboard a butterfly float accompanied by Dallas Cowboys linebacker Jaylon Smith. Other Cowboys riding floats included wide receiver Michael Gallup, defensive tackle Meliek Collins, safety Kavon Frazier, cornerback Byron Jones and retired stars Charles Haley and Ed “Too Tall” Jones. That was in addition to the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders and team mascot “Rowdy.”

UTRGV President Guy Bailey was given the honor of being the grand marshal for the one and half-mile long parade. Fighter Brandon Figueroa was another celebrity in the parade, plus television and radio personalities, government officials and the Budweiser Clydesdales along with the company’s spotted Dalmatian riding the wagon. One of the festival floats came from the City of San Antonio and there was also a South Korean marching contingent.

And of course, winding up the parade was the jolly old fellow himself, Santa Claus, with Mrs. Claus, riding in the sleigh pulled by the Rudolph-led reindeer.

In keeping with the city’s weekend of celebrating Christmas that Gov. Greg Abbott officially designated McAllen the “South Pole of Texas,” periodic blasts of simulated snow rose into the air as the parade moved around the stadium. But this “snow” fell under ideal climate conditions of pleasant temperatures and a light breeze, perfect for the balloon characters.

The parade and entertainment is part of McAllen’s 40 Days of Christmas celebration. Many of the families coming for the parade also went to nearby Christmas in the Park event, which ran for two days featuring two stages of live entertainment, interactive games, carnival rides, festival food and Santa on hand for pictures. The city’s events also include the Winter Wonderland at the McAllen Convention Center, which continues on various dates through December.