'En casa de música todos son músicos'

Children's parade grand marshal: Norberto 'Norbie' Martinez

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Norberto “Norbie” Martínez, un nativo de Taos, Nuevo México is honored to be the grand marshal of the 2018 Taos Fiesta Children’s Parade.

Norberto is the son of Esther and the late Norberto Martínez, el primer locutor o D.J. en español en Radio KKIT en Taos. Norberto always admired the way his father brought New Mexican culture to life through the music. After the passing of Norbie’s father, his mother, Esther, accepted the offer to continue the Spanish program. Norberto watched the way his mother echoed his father’s presence in radio and knew that this was something he wanted to be a part of. Norberto’s radio career began in 1980, when he joined his mother on the airwaves until KKIT went off the air in the ‘90s. His musician padres, Esther Martínez and el finado Norberto Martínez Sr., inspired their son to fervently continue their legacy; “En casa de música todos son músicos” (In the house of music, all are musicians).

Thus, Norberto’s journey of bringing his culture to life through music began with his parents, and has continued with the young adults he teaches every day.

Norberto’s career as a teacher began in the Questa Schools as the mariachi director for five years. Since then, he has been employed with the Taos Schools for 15 years where he taught music at the elementary and secondary levels — it was experiences like these that he will never forget.

Currently, Norberto is the mariachi director for both the Taos Middle and High schools, alongside the dream team of Audrey Davis and Nick Branchal. There, they take great pleasure in helping over 150 students reach their full potential as musicians and members of the community. His goal has always been to create everlasting passion, a sense of family, commitment, discipline and real-world experiences that his students can rely on throughout their lives.

This year will mark the 10th year in the 38-year-old history of the mariachi group at Taos High School. In fact, Norberto was a part of the very first mariachi group to receive course credit in the state of New Mexico. From 1981 to the present, he has witnessed the progression of this program. Because of that, he is proud to see his students go on to accomplish their dreams, and he anticipates that they will carry on the tradition of passing on their culture through music to others in their lives.

Yet, none of these accomplishments would have been possible without the continuous support of his loving family, his student musicians, school administration, community members, friends and generations of alumni. Norberto hopes to continue inspiring his students and community to express themselves through la música and to give his listeners a little rhythm to their step.

¡Y que vivan los estudiantes de la música mariachi!

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