The Full(ish) Professors, scheduled to play at 1:30 p.m., are influenced by folk/Americana, classic rock, country, and contemporary popular music.
Courtesy Photos | New Mexico Tech Performing Arts Series

Decades-old traditions will mix with new specialties for the Fourth of July festivities this year.

Held at the Socorro Rodeo and Sports Complex, this year’s line-up includes many local favorites, and the headliner, native son Al Hurricane Jr.

While the fireworks display from EMRTC begins at dark, the day kicks off early with the second annual Socorro Fire Department cornhole tournament, with sign-ups starting at 9 a.m. Singles are $25, doubles $20 per player. There will be cash prizes, and interested parties should contact Humberto Lucero at 575-517-5277.

The stage entertainment begins at noon with the Socorro Community Band led by Dr. Eileen Comstock. This year’s group features many new players from the Socorro High School band. They will play a mix of patriotic songs, marches and classic band music.

The Full(ish) Professors take the stage at 1:30, with folk/American, rock, country with both 80s and contemporary vibes. The band is comprised of Julie Ford (vocals), a professor in the Mechanical Engineering department; Steve Simpson (vocals, guitar) is a communications professor and dean of Arts and Sciences; Ephraim Ford (bass) is head of engineering at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory; Paul Demorest (saxophone) is a scientist at NRAO; and Andrew Wagg (drums) is working at EMTRC after graduating with a mechanical engineering degree.

Tori Murillo is a show stealer and local favorite.

Familiar to many around Socorro, The Murillos, will join the stage at 3 p.m. They are always happy to perform and always have a willing dance audience. Expect favorites and some newly learned songs from the group which now has CDs to add to its legacy. Varying combinations of the Murillo family have been playing together for years, said Richard Murillo.

“Any time anyone needs us, we play. We enjoy playing together as a family.” Other members are brothers George and Patrick with his son Matthew. Lefty Gonzales plays drums with, of course, Tori stealing the show with her voice and enthusiasm.

Up A Creek takes over at 4:30 p.m., playing some great classic country dance music. With a heart for good ol’ country music, they play fairs, rodeos and private engagments. The band features the local talent of lead singer Clayton Stansell backed by contest winning and state champion fiddle player Gretchen VanHoughton and lead guitarist Tom Sams who has toured the region. They are anchored by the rhythm section of local guitarist Steve Thompson, and Chris Stephens on drums, who has played with acts like Merle Haggard and Eddy Raven. Up A Creek is a down-home good time crew that can keep a dance floor busy while playing old country favorites.

For a striking change of pace, the Et Alia Belly Dance Troupe will dazzle the audience. Led by Socorroan Julie Johnson, who teaches and choreographs the dances, the Tech-based group performs several styles of this ancient dance form from regions of the Middle East including classical, modern pop and folkloric. With beautiful outfits and amazing grace and agility, this group is always hit.

Al Hurricane Jr. is the headliner at this year’s Fourth of July celebration in Socorro.

Closing the show is Al Hurricane Jr. who brings his unique style and personality to the event. For many years, he and his father, the first Al Hurricane, played at the Far West Club in Albuquerque. Al Jr. actually made his first public appearance at the age of 5 (singing Love Potion #9). He learned to play trumpet at 8 years old and the piano a few years later.

When Al Jr. made his first recordings in the Hurricane Studios in Albuquerque, it was on the very equipment that Buddy Holly used in Clovis. That recording was his original “El Pinto.” Al Jr. also played on his father’s recordings, supplying trumpet, valve trombone, keyboards, keyboard bass, and has programmed drums. His trumpet and valve trombone were also featured on the recordings of his uncles Tiny Morrie and Baby Gaby.

Adding music to the fireworks spectacular is Socorro’s guitar guru Rob Lopez. The fireworks display, scheduled to start at 9 p.m. Known for his hard-driving rock-n-roll sound, Rob Lopez has played around the state. His style has taken him from being the morning band on Buzzard (96.3 FM) radio to the VIP tent at the Pavilion for three years, as well as all around Socorro County.

Lopez describes his sound as a mix between Zappa, Hendrix, Zeppelin and ZZ Top with a sprinkling of Pink Floyd and Black Sabbath.

The Fourth of July Celebration is a collaborative event presented by the City of Socorro, New Mexico Tech’s EMRTC and Performing Arts Series.


So that everyone can have a great time, here are a few guidelines from the organizers. Absolutely no personal fireworks are allowed at the venue. Please keep your pets at home. Alcohol is not allowed but there is a beer garden onsite. Food and arts vendors will be onsite, and RV spaces may still be available for a fee. Contact [email protected], 575-835-8927 for more information.

A water slide will offer a chance for youngsters to cool off on a hot day.



Chieftain Staff Report