La Pastorela (the Shepherds) is a centuries-old Spanish language performance of the Christmas story. Here in Socorro, children aged 5-12 years can be a part of this living tradition. Performance will be Sunday 12 December. Rehearsals are on Sundays at 1 p.m. at Epiphany Episcopal Church. Registration is open until October 31. All are welcome.
The plot revolves around the shepherds’ journey to Bethlehem to witness the birth of Jesus. Their path is long and hard. They meet the devil who tries to tempt the shepherds from their pilgrimage. After the archangel Gabriel defeats the devil, the pilgrims travel onward to see the miracle and joyously present their gifts to the Christ Child.
Pastorela has been a play since the 11th century when it was common to stage such plays to teach religion to the unlettered. It was brought to New Mexico over El Camino Real by the Franciscans in the 1600s and used to teach the story of the birth of Christ to the native peoples. La Pastorela was performed in most churches or opera houses in New Mexico until the 1920-1950s, when live entertainment gave way to movies and television. La Gran Pastorela de Belen has kept the tradition alive for decades.
Starting in 1976, Socorro’s legendary music teacher Bobby Romero adapted the play for performance by children. Every year, children here in Socorro became part of the chain of this uniquely New Mexican tradition. When Bobby Romero could no longer stage the play, others took up the cause. Sheri Armijo, a Socorro teacher and member of the Belen ‘Los Pastores,’ carried the torch for years.
To join the cast, call Eileen at (575)418-7752 or just show up Sunday for practice at Epiphany Episcopal Church at 1 p.m. (Masks must be worn).