Among the shows this season in the New Mexico Tech Performing Arts Series is Mariachi Christmas.
Courtesy photos

August means back to school. It also means a new schedule of music and events with New Mexico Tech’s Performing Arts Series.

“It promises to be a fun and tasty year,” says Ronna Kalish, PAS director. “We are doing lots of preshow food events and dinners, several outdoor funfests, the return of in-person Canvas and Cocktails painting parties and a season of great music, theater, dance and variety performances.”

The first event is Saturday, Aug. 27. It’s the TNT Fest, or Meet Tech & Town, from 1-7 p.m. on Campus Drive.

The free event will feature Tech student bands and clubs, food trucks, community and college resources, all kinds of activities, workshops, demos, giveaways, coupons, prizes and plenty of fun, says Dana Chavez, PAS coordinator.

Other outdoor festivals are Monster Mash Bash on Oct. 29, a collaboration with Kiwanis of Socorro County, the City of Socorro, NMT Residential Life and local businesses and organizations; and WomenFest on March 25, also a collaboration among a wide variety of organizations.

PAS is working with the City of Socorro on the return of SocorroFest on Sept. 16-17 on the Plaza. It’s planned to be anchored by Socorro’s rich array of bands on two stages, with arts and food vendors, a spirits tent, a car show, a three-on-three basketball tourney and more.

Lee Rocker, upright bassist and founding member of the Grammy-nominated Stray Cats, will headline the fest on the historic gazebo Saturday evening, which is also Tech’s Parent and Family Weekend.

Canvas and Cocktails, a guided painting experience led by Chavez, takes place the last Friday of September and March, with themed appetizers and drink specials.

Community collaboration events include the in-school National Dance Institute and summer Missoula Children’s Theater residencies, the annual Community Arts Party and Fourth of July Celebration, and several NMT, Socorro Community Theater and local theatrical productions.

Free music

The free Presidential Chamber Music Series, sponsored by Tech President Stephen G. Wells, features three free concerts:

  • Friday, Oct. 21: Eric Sewell’s Nomad Ensemble with stellar New Mexico musicians performing as string quintets that showcase the double-bass;
  • Friday, Jan. 27: Camerata del Sol, a seven-member string ensemble from Las Cruces; and
  • Friday, March 24: The String Queens, a through-the-ages trio from Washington, D.C., for WomenFest.

Trip back in time

The regular subscription series begins in September with several preshow events connected to the performances.

Yesterday: A Tribute to The Beatles

First is Saturday, Sept. 10, with Yesterday: Tribute to the Beatles. Endorsed by Paul McCartney, Yesterday tours internationally and has performed on five continents. A “Groovy ’60s Costume Party” precedes the show from 6-7:30 p.m., with a Beatles trivia contest, photo booth and fun finger foods.

Next up is Socorro Community Theater’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” the classic Shakespearean comedy about love, lovers and mix-ups. The play runs Friday through Sunday, Sept. 23-25, with special events each day.

The Friday show kicks off with an optional Medieval Feast & Fancy, with open-air night-club-style seating, a hearty medieval meal, drink specials and costumes encouraged, plus a silent art auction by Socorro’s American Association of University Women (AAUW) chapter.

Saturday, a mini Renaissance Fair is scheduled from 4-7 p.m. with music, food trucks and more, followed by the play.

The Sunday matinee performance at 2 p.m. features an Enchanted Brunch, 12:30-2 p.m., with the open-air night-club-style seating, a whimsical woodland menu, with mimosas and Bloody Mary cocktail and mocktail drink specials.

And more:

  • Friday, Oct. 7: Skerryvore, a band playing traditional and contemporary Scottish music and hailed as the most promising young band from Scotland today. They play a unique fusion of folk, trad, rock and pop that represents the unique personalities and upbringing of the band members, who come from different regions of Scotland. The Isle Fare preshow social hour, 6-7:30 p.m., features traditional Scottish food and cocktail/mocktail specials.
  • Friday, Nov. 4-5: “Horror Channel,” Socorro’s original musical written by local musician and visual artist Colleen Gino, and starring many of Socorro’s musicians and thespians, intertwines dreams, nightmares, zombies and werewolves with real life. A Dark Art reception precedes the show with spooky snacks and an exhibit of Dark Art especially for “Horror Channel.”
  • Friday, Dec. 2: “A Christmas Carol” performed by Socorro youth, Tech students and community thespians. The classic Dickens tale tells the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, a miserly man who and only cares about hoarding his money. Through three supernatural visits on Christmas Eve, Scrooge learns the true meaning of life and Christmas.
  • Friday, Dec. 16: Mariachi Christmas, a colorful seasonal showcase of ballet folkorico dance and mariachi music. Comida Festiva before the show features traditional New Mexican food and drink specials.
  • Friday, Jan. 20, 2023: Big Richard. This all-female band formed last year and is making headlines. An acoustic string ensemble of four well-established musicians who came together for a festival and “morphed into a serious passion project driven by sisterhood, harmony and humor… along with the shared desire to rage fiddle tunes and smash the patriarchy,” they say. A preshow social hour, 6-7:30 p.m., will offer “home-style comfort food” and drink specials.
  • Friday, Feb. 10: A Sweetheart Soiree Dinner will be served prior to an evening of big-band swing music with the Albuquerque Jazz Orchestra and vocalist extraordinaire Hillary Smith. Band members include professional and semi-professional musicians alongside local public-school and university music educators to create a lively dynamic. Dancing, of course, is welcome.
  • Friday, Feb. 24: For Science Olympiad weekend at Tech, illusionist Jason Bishop presents his original state-of-the-art magic show with award-winning sleight of hand, exclusive grand illusions, close-up magic projected onto a huge movie screen, his dog Gizmo and lots of humor.
  • Thursday, March 2: PAS will bring an Irish extravaganza to the stage with Rhythm of the Dance, featuring World and Irish champion dancers and some of the finest traditional musicians and singers. This show is internationally rated as one of the most popular Irish step dance shows in the world. The preshow social hour will feature Irish foods and drink specials.
  • Friday and Saturday, March 24 and 25: WomenFest. Friday evening’s preshow event is a reception for the month-long WomenFest art showcase featuring Socorro-area women artists, with appetizers and drink specials.

The WomenFest kickoff concert is The String Queens. This trio has a repertoire spanning from the Baroque era to the Jazz Age to today’s Billboard Hot 100 Chart.

On Saturday, WomenFest will feature a variety of activities in and around Macey Center. Inspired by Women’s History Month, PAS is collaborating with a variety of campus and Socorro organizations. WomenFest will include live music, workshops, artist showcases, speakers, vendors and more in a weekend-long celebration of women in the community and beyond.

  • Friday, April 14: “The Jungle Book.” This production by State Street Ballet features water, air, earth and fire, the four natural elements, intertwining in this dazzling adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s classic collection of stories. The complexities of the jungle and the personalities of its creatures come alive through movement, music and the dynamic storytelling of great moral lessons, with a cameo performance by Socorro’s Rising Star young dancers. Story-time fun with cakes and punch is featured at the preshow social hour, especially for families.
  • April 23-25: Socorro Community Theater and NMT present their annual musical, “Little Shop of Horrors,” starring Tech students and Socorro residents. The story follows a meek plant store attendant named Seymour, his co-worker crush Audrey, her sadistic dentist of a boyfriend and the man-eating plant that threatens them and the world as we know it. Friday and Saturday shows are at 7 p.m. with a Sunday matinee at 2 p.m.
  • Friday, May 5: Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with a build-your-own taco buffet, plus a cash bar with tequila flights, margaritas, Mexican beer drink specials; rousing games of Loteria with fun prizes; and local Spanish music for a dance.

Season tickets are available, saving subscribers 25 percent for the year. Individual shows are $15 for adults, $12 for seniors and $5 for youth, with Tech students free with student ID. Special pre-show events are an additional charge.

For more information, visit or call 575-835-5688.

Gwen Roath, NMT Performing Arts Series