Rockin' a Latino beat
Austin-based Vallejo returns to the CAC on April 23 as Texas Music Series continues.
Vallejo, formed by three brothers from El Campo, will return to Temple with their Conga-infused brand of rock ‘n’ roll on April 23 at the CAC. Courtesy photo
By DAVID STONE, Our Town Temple
Growing up in El Campo, the Vallejo brothers listened to a mix of music ranging from Herb Albert & The Tijuana Brass to Frank Zappa. It all depended on where they were.
“We are Hispanic, and our parents played a lot of Spanish music at home,” said Alex, one of three brothers in the Austin-based band. “Mom was from Guatemala and Dad was from Mexico, so they were always playing Spanish music. But at school, our friends were listening to classic rock and 80s music. We liked it all.”
The Vallejo brothers — Alex, AJ and Omar — started playing music in the El Campo Middle School band. All three played the trumpet.
“When we got to high school, we decided to form a band,” Alex said. “I learned to play drums, Omar picked up the bass and AJ was a natural on the guitar. We brought in a high school friend, Bruce Castleberry. Bruce was one of those big rockers back then.”
One of the band’s biggest inspirations was Carlos Santana, a Hispanic musician who had made it big in the rock world.
“We loved Spanish music, and we began infusing our rock music with Latin beats and a Samba bass line,” Alex said. “We even brought in a conga drum player — Alex Geismar — to spin a different rhythm.”
The band moved from El Campo to Austin in 1995 to take advantage of the many venues the Live Music Capital of America had to offer. The increased exposure attracted fans and record deals. Over the years, Vallejo has recorded 12 albums and many videos, singles and extended play tracks.
“We’ve toured all over the US and Mexico,” Alex Vallejo said. “We’ve opened for a lot of great bands — Matchbox 20, the Stone Temple Pilots, Juanes and Los Lobos.”
The music of Vallejo has been featured in movies and television shows such as NBC’s Roswell, UPN’s America’s Top Model, MTV’s Jersey Shore and HBO’s True Blood.
“We’ve played all over the Austin area, and we’ve performed in Bell County many times,” Alex said. “We’re thrilled to bring our sound back to the Cultural Activities Center. Last time we were there, we had one of our best shows ever. There was a lot of electricity in the air that night in Temple.”
Vallejo returns to the CAC on Saturday, April 23, as part of the venue’s Texas Music Series. The show starts at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets may be purchased at cacarts.org.
MONDAY | APRIL 11, 2022
NC ARTIST TO CONDUCT TEMPLE WORKSHOP
Donna Downey will lead two workshops at the Rockin’ R Retreat Center this month.
By DAVID STONE, Our Town Temple
Renowned North Carolina artist Donna Downey will be in Temple this month to lead a pair of art workshops at Rockin’ R Retreat Center.
“Donna is an accomplished painter, bestselling author, instructor and entrepreneur with a passion for nurturing the creative development of other artists,” said Rena Cotti, owner of the crafting retreat on Bottoms Road. “She will be leading two workshops, and we are thrilled to have her.”
Downey has been a professional artist since 2000 and she works with a variety of media.
“Oil painting is probably my favorite, but I do a lot of mixed media as well, blending oil with acrylics, pen and ink, and collages,” she said.
Like many businesses, Downey’s has changed dramatically since the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Before the pandemic, I was traveling about 30 weekends every year — mostly overseas,” she said. “When I wasn’t traveling, I was hosting other artists at my studio. COVID wiped that out and I’m pretty much starting over. COVID has been horrible, but for me it has provided new opportunities. I have teenagers at home, and I’m spending time with them. I had decisions to make, and COVID made many of them for me. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, but for me it has been a bit of a blessing.”
Now, Downey is taking life at a slower pace, but she is starting to resume travel with her workshops.
“I started traveling again last month, and I’m already scheduled through 2023,” she said. “Rena and I had planned the Temple workshops before COVID, and we decided to go ahead and do them.”
Downey will be leading a pair of two-day workshops at Rockin’ R — a Simplified Portrait Art Workshop on April 21-22 and an Expressive Figurative Art Workshop on April 23-24.
“The Simplified workshop breaks portrait painting into manageable chunks,” she said. “We will focus on painting from the neck up and concentrate on facial expressions and identifying lights and shadows.”
“The other workshop — the Expressive Figurative workshop — will focus on painting the entire body,” she said.
"By applying proven methods and experiences, I seek to equip and empower artists to discover their full creative potential,” Downey said. “My workshops are for everyone, whether you are an accomplished artist or just beginning your creative journey.”
Rena Cotti has been hosting art retreats for about 25 years, and she has had her own center since 2008.
“I had been renting out other venues to host my events, but more and more people were coming,” she said. “One day I was talking to my parents about retreats and the conversation turned toward us opening our own center to host my events and rent to other hostesses who were searching for the ultimate crafting space.”
“My husband, Don, found this building and we started working on Rockin’ R Retreat Center,” Cotti said. “Six weeks after closing on the property we were having an Open House.”
“Since opening, Rockin’ R has hosted scrapbookers, quilters, knitters, painters, beaders, floral designers, card makers and gals who just want to visit with friends, read good books and play cards,” she said.
T-TOWN GRIDIRON GREATS
‘Giant’ was huge presence as a Dunbar High School lineman
By VINCENT MUNDY, special to Our Town Temple
A decade before Charles "Joe" Greene was punishing Dunbar Panther opponents, Rufus Granderson, Dunbar class of 1955, established his own presence for the segregated Temple school.
Standing at 6'5" he was nicknamed "Giant" and local fans of all races took notice of his size and domination on the line of scrimmage.
Prairie View University coaching legend, Billy Nicks, had a strong foothold in Texas recruiting and Granderson was locked on his radar. Nicks coached the Prairie View Panthers to five National Championships during his reign. Rufus joined Prairie View and in 1958 they met Florida A&M in the Orange Blossom Classic played in Miami Florida. The Panthers defeated the Rattlers 26-8 and claimed the Black College Football Championship.
Granderson was twice named to small college All-American teams as an offensive tackle, and in 1959 he was drafted by the Detroit Lions.
The Lions were set on making Rufus into a defensive lineman despite his ability on the offensive side of the ball. This "conflict of interest" ended with him being cut from the team.
In 1960 he played for the Dallas Texans in the inaugural season of the American Football League. Unofficial records show that he played defensive tackle. Fellow Temple native and SMU Mustang Jerry Cornelison also played on that team.
Granderson played semi-pro football for two seasons with Grand Rapids of the United Football League, this time playing offensive tackle and the team winning the league championship in 1962.
Michigan obviously suited him well as he lived there for the remainder of his life.
For more about Wildcat football legends, visit the Facebook page Temple Texas Football Legacy
In February 2015, Rufus Granderson, Dunbar class of 1955, was honored as Trail Blazer of the Year by the Temple Black Heritage Committee in recognition of being the first African American pro football player from Temple Texas. The city of Temple proclaimed Feb. 21, 2015, as Rufus Granderson Day. Sadly, he passed away eight months later at the age of 79 but not without receiving formal honors from his hometown.
today’s best bet
Free Choral Concert at First United Methodist Church in Temple. The 7 p.m. concert will include three choirs from McLennan Community College, the Temple High Meistersingers and the Lake Belton High concert choir.
To include your events in What’s Happening, email information to OurTownTemple@gmail.com. Photos are welcome and will be used as space permits!
Temple Dairy Products was founded in 1935, but it changed its name in 1942. What was the new name?
ANSWER IS AT END OF TODAY’S ISSUE
On this day in 1838, the keelboat David Crockett, reportedly the first large craft to navigate the Colorado River, arrived at the head of "the raft on the Colorado." Early in the nineteenth century, the river's slow current caused a logjam, or "raft," which by the late 1830s blocked the river ten miles above its mouth at Matagorda. The Crockett, which had averaged more than sixty miles a day, stopped at the head of the raft, where its cargo of cotton was unloaded and carried by wagon to Matagorda. Removal of the log jam in the 1920s caused the development of an enormous delta that reached across Matagorda Bay to the Matagorda Peninsula. In 1936 engineers dug a channel through the delta, but Matagorda gradually became landlocked.
| | | | | | |
On this day in 1953, President Eisenhower appointed Oveta Culp Hobby the first secretary of the new Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. The Killeen native had married former governor William P. Hobby in 1931. During her subsequent extraordinary career she took an active part in the family's communications empire, became an important figure in the Democratic party, headed the League of Women Voters, and organized the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps during World War II. In her thirty-one months as secretary of HEW, the agency greatly expanded the nation's hospital system, improved the administration of food and drug laws, increased grants for mental health, set up a nurse-training program, enlarged the rehabilitation program, and designed an insurance program to protect Americans against the rising cost of illness. When Mrs. Hobby left office in July 1955, Eisenhower told her, "None of us will forget your wise counsel, your calm confidence in the face of every kind of difficulty, your concern for people everywhere, the warm heart you brought to your job as well as your talents."
OurTownTemple@gmail.com | (254) 231-1574
TODAY’S TEMPLE TRIVIA ANSWER: Paul Anderson changed the name of his company to Anderson Ice Cream in 1942, and ice cream became his only product. Four years later, the company was producing a half-million gallons of ice cream a year from its small building on South 4th.