National Tour Series features beloved Sons of the Pioneers

Cowboy music legends the Sons of the Pioneers will perform at the Rio Grande Theatre November 11. Local band Oldies But Goodies will rock songs of the 1950s and ‘60s on November 19. Courtesy photos.
Cowboy music legends the Sons of the Pioneers will perform at the Rio Grande Theatre November 11. Local band Oldies But Goodies will rock songs of the 1950s and ‘60s on November 19. Courtesy photos.
This month, the Doña Ana Arts Council continues the National Tour Series at the beautifully restored Rio Grande Theatre with famed cowboy singers, the Sons of the Pioneers, on November 11.

Friday, November 4, 5 to 7 p.m.: Exhibit opening with artist Ruth Drayer
The El Paso Electric Gallery’s artist of the month, Ruth Drayer, recently returned to Las Cruces and is continuing her artistic exploration of color. Drayer’s work is non-objective. She paints color and color relationships, and has developed her own technique. Rather than beginning with an idea, she textures her blank canvas with a gel or compound, paints on a sacred symbol or word, and then works to conceal it. Sometimes something recognizable appears as she paints, other times, the work is simply a harmony of color. Acrylics allow her to build up layers. This award-winning artist has had many exhibits, both one woman and group shows.

The exhibit will open with an artist reception during the First Friday Ramble on November 4 from 5 to 7 p.m. Regular exhibit hours are 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Saturday, November 5, 7 p.m.: Mexican Mosaic
The Mexican Consulate presents a showcase of music and dance titled Mexican Mosaic – A Day of The Dead Celebration. The performance is free and open to the public with first-come, first-served open seating. Lobby doors open at 6 p.m., auditorium doors open at 6:30 p.m., and the show begins at 7 p.m.

Wednesday, November 9, 6:30 p.m.: Every 2nd Wednesday with the El Paso Choral Society, Songs at Sunset: Arias and Carols
Start the holiday season early by enjoying arias and carols performed by El Paso Choral Society soloists, accompanied by David Cunniff. El Paso Choral Society soloists regularly provide recitals in the border region and performed weekly at Café Central in El Paso during the summer. This recital features Kristin (Connor) Kimmelman, a Las Cruces native mezzo-soprano who has performed with the El Paso Opera, the Doña Ana Lyric Opera, St. Paul’s United Methodist Church Chamber Choir, and others; Jose Mario Sanchez, a tenor who has sung in over 30 professional operas and performed solo recitals all over Mexico, Europe, and the United States; and Mario Tarin Acosta, a bass-baritone who has performed character roles in numerous operas in Mexico and currently studies at the El Paso Conservatory of Music.

Every 2nd Wednesday is a free monthly program offered by the Doña Ana Arts Council showcasing local musicians. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the performance begins at 6:30 p.m. For additional information, visit RioGrandeTheatre.com or contact the Doña Ana Arts Council at 523-6403.

November 10, 7 p.m.: El Paso Pro Musica presents Marquee Brass
El Paso Pro Musica presents Marquee Brass from their Young Artist Development Series. The Young Artist Development Series is a collaboration with El Paso Pro-Musica, Johns Hopkins University, and the Peabody School of Music. The Marquee Brass was specially selected by Zuill Bailey to participate in the week-long residency. The brass ensemble will visit schools, engage in the community, and perform in concert. They are doctoral students at Peabody looking at a career in music performance in the 21st century. There will be a pre-concert discussion at 7 p.m. and the concert begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available at eppm.org, by calling (915) 833-9400, or at the door. Ticket prices are $25 adults, $20 senior/military, and $5 students.

November 11, 7:30 p.m.: Rio Grande Theatre National Tour Series presents Sons of the Pioneers
The second performance in the National Tour Series is by an iconic group that made Western music famous, the Sons of the Pioneers. The Western Music Association calls them “A living legend in their own time … an American institution” and American Cowboy Magazine calls them “The world’s premiere cowboy singing group.”

The Sons of the Pioneers are one of the United States’ earliest Western singing groups. Known for their vocal performances, their musicianship, and their song writing, they produced innovative recordings that have inspired many Western music performers and remained popular through the years with songs like Cool Water and Tumbling Tumbleweeds. Since 1933, through changes in membership, the Sons of the Pioneers have remained one of the longest-surviving country music vocal groups. Enjoy an evening of Western music favorites with the singers who made the songs a part of our culture.

This performance is included for those who purchased the National Tour Series. Individual ticket prices range from $27 – $37. Tickets are available at the Doña Ana Arts Council office on the second floor of the Rio Grande Theatre during business hours, online at riograndetheatre.com, or at the door one hour prior to the performance. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the performance begins at 7:30 p.m. For more information, go to riograndetheatre.com or call 523-6403.

November 17, 7:30 p.m.: Las Cruces Civic Concert Association presents Sonic Escape
Celtic with a Twist combines the tunes you love with flute and fiddle playing like you’ve never heard (or seen) before. Shawn and Maria will take your breath away as they transform the flute and fiddle into a Celtic orchestra right before your eyes. Come hear your favorites as though for the very first time; come experience Celtic with a Twist. Take advantage of the LCCCA Concert Season tickets to get four great concerts for one low price of $58. Tickets for this event only are $25 per person. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the concert begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available at riograndetheatre.com or at the door one hour before the performance.

November 17, noon: Promoting Art in Las Cruces
This free monthly event will be at the Main Street Bistro. Morgan Switzer-McGinley, publisher of Las Cruces Magazine and Las Cruces Neighbors, will be the guest speaker. She will talk about her magazines and give tips on how to get events, art gallery information, or special features published in monthly, quarterly, and semi-annual publications. The meeting is free, although lunch may be purchased at the restaurant, located two doors south of the Rio Grande Theatre. For more information, go to riograndetheatre.com or call 523-6403.

November 19, 7 p.m.: Oldies But Goodies
The Oldies But Goodies Band is a local, eightmember, high-energy group that plays music from the late 1950s and 1960s. Their mission is to keep the original, first generation Rock-and-Roll music alive. The band has been exceptionally well received in its performances over the years. They have performed at numerous venues around the Las Cruces and El Paso area, including the Las Cruces Convention Center, Music in the Park summer concert series, Rio Grande Theater, Black Box, and Las Cruces Community Theaters, July 4 and Veterans Day parades, events at NMSU, Picacho Hills and Las Cruces Country Clubs, Sparky’s in Hatch, and scores of private parties. This Rio Grande Theater performance is likely to get you up on your feet and begin moving to the music, so wear your dancing shoes. General Admission tickets are $6.50 per person for seniors/students and $12 per person for all others. Tickets are available at riograndetheatre.com or at the door one hour before the event. For more information, go to riograndetheatre.com or call 523-6403.

El Paso Electric Gallery Artist of the Month: Ruth Drayer
Born and raised in Washington, D.C., Ruth Drayer lived throughout the Southwest and in India before moving back to Las Cruces in 2016. Always an artist, she worked as a florist and interior designer, owned and managed art galleries, made pottery and sculpture, studied art theory and therapy, but had no desire to paint until after her return from India.

The turning point of her life was 1986, for it began the fifteen years it took to research and write the life story of the parents of the artist with whom she studied in India. (The result was the biography Nicholas & Helena Roerich, The Spiritual Journey of Two Great Artists & Peacemakers.) While writing, the importance of color seemed to grow until she needed an outlet for the colors that swam in her head. So she began to paint. She considers Roerich (called a master of color) to be her mentor and was influenced by the spiritual art of Wassily Kandinsky. Drayer’s work is non-objective. She is painting color and color relationships, and has developed her own technique. Rather than beginning with an idea, she textures her blank canvas with a gel or compound, paints on a sacred symbol or word, and then works to conceal it. Sometimes something recognizable appears as she paints, other times, the work is simply a harmony of color.

Acrylics allow her to build up layers. Drayer says, “After all the years of writing and rewriting my book, it just seems natural to paint and repaint. I think these are similar. Both are about communicating. Colors speak a language without words. Sometimes my paintings seem to whisper, other times they speak out boldly. My work is challenging to people who want to recognize what they see or try to understand what I’m saying. All I’m saying is I love design and color and if you look through your imagination and enjoy it, that is what’s important.”

Drayer has been in many group and one-woman shows in Santa Fe and other cities of New Mexico and Texas. Her first piece was sold straight off the easel and she received the purchase award in the first juried show she entered. Her paintings are in private collections throughout the United States, in Canada, Mexico and Spain. In 2015, she was honored to receive the Sandro Botticelli Prize for Artists Merit, awarded by F. S. Russo at the Casa di Dante, Museum of Florence, Italy.

“Drayer’s paintings reflect her lifelong quest for spiritual knowledge,” wrote Derrickson Moore, former arts editor for the Las Cruces Sun-News. “Explorations into interwoven and layered washes or built-up areas of color that produce order, harmony and beauty by their relationships. Each painting is the result of a journey using the language of form, color and design.”

Drayer believes time spent with a beautiful piece of art heals and soothes our souls.

Every month the Doña Ana Arts Council welcomes local artists to exhibit in the El Paso Electric Gallery in the lobby of the Rio Grande Theatre. Regular exhibit hours are 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. For more information, or to book an exhibit, call the Arts Council offices during regular working hours at 523-6403.

The Rio Grande Theatre is located at 211 N. Main Street, Las Cruces, New Mexico, and is managed by the Doña Ana Arts Council. The theatre box office and Doña Ana Arts Council office are on the second floor of the theatre. Box office hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and one hour prior to show time. For more information, go to riograndetheatre.com or call 523-6403.