One of the truly great players who has ever played the game, and obviously one of the truly great players that has ever played for the Raiders. ~ Al Davis

On Saturday, August 8th, the pinnacle of success for any NFL player will finally become realized for Timothy Donnell “Tim” Brown. After earning multiple All-Pro designations and setting multiple NFL and Raider records,  “Mr. Raider,” as he is known by media and his adoring and loyal Raider Nation contingent, will become the twenty-fourth Raider selected for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.RAIDERS 49ERS

TB “gets busted” at this year’s National Football League’s Hall of Fame ceremony in Canton, Ohio, at the newly labeled Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium. With “the Bust” comes the fabled Hall of Fame Gold Jacket, and a Ring… a glistening bauble symbolic of Tim Brown’s successful career in football.

So, what got him there? Well, winning the Heisman Trophy didn’t hurt his chances any trailing his prestigious All-American collegiate career at Notre Dame. Clearly, winning the Heisman was signs of greater things to come.

Bidding a fond farewell to his life under the Golden Dome at Notre Dame, “Touchdown Timmy” was selected as the Los Angeles Raiders’ 1st round pick during the 1988 NFL Draft, and representing the sixth pick overall.

When I got to the Raiders, I realized one thing… that these folks had a legacy of greatness.

When the last few remaining words had been penned, and that final punctuating period placed from the telling of his seventeen year NFL career, TB ranked number two in NFL history with 14,934 yards receiving, number three, with 1,094 catches, and also number three, with 100 touchdown catches. As of this writing, “Mr. Raider” now ranks sixth in all time reception yardage, number five in receptions, and tied at number seven with Seattle Seahawks legend Steve Largent: a 1995 NFL Hall of Fame inductee. #2 -TIM BROWN HEISMAN TROPHY-AP Photo BY Ron Frehm

So, whatta ya say we pull out the ol’ pigskin, check the pressure, to get it just right… and play a little catch with “Mr. Raider?”

ALIVE: Was induction into the Hall of Fame something that always ran alongside you with the process of football, or was it a dream that you knew, sat on the horizon?

TB: I was a basketball and track guy initially. I began to play football because I was good at it. My junior year in high school is really when I realized that I was a better football player than a basketball player. I didn’t make it in track going to the state finals when I competed in the long jump and ran the 400 on my high school track team — but still followed with track at Notre Dame. The football card is what trumped basketball and track. Coming out of Notre Dame, I thought one of two things are going to happen. I’m going to be a punt return/kickoff guy, or be a receiver. I was blessed. Both were realized. My first year, I made it to the pro bowl. My second year… I hurt my knee. Then, from my third to final seventeenth year, my whole thought was, “Let’s just get through this, and do it for the team.” Winning the championship – the Super Bowl – was the deal. You do this, and you’ve got a Hall of Fame career developing. The Hall of Fame stuff was really too far in the future to think about.Tim Brown 6
ALIVE: What has it meant to finally be inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame, after so many near misses? Did it hit you emotionally?

TB: My thought initially… was that it’s about time! Dave Baker, from the NFL Hall Of Fame selection committee, is who came to the door of my hotel room to give me the news. He’s 6’-7” and weighs some 400lbs. He’s a very imposing, big man! He also acts as the Turk as well, and is sent to tell you that you didn’t make it. I’d been through this many times before [finally selected on fifth nomination]. But when I saw three cameramen standing around him this time, I felt something good, for sure, was happening… and it did, when he said, “Of eighty-seven hundred Hall of Famers, you’re a member of the greatest fraternity on earth. Congratulations!” At that point, Dave leaned in, and wrapped his giant arms around me and we hugged… while my family cheered behind me. I didn’t expect to get emotional, but I was extremely emotional about the moment, and it really hit me. There’s a lot of weight sitting on your shoulders when it comes to the Hall Of Fame. Not just with me, but with my wife, my agent and my family, too. Now this was something that wouldn’t rattle around in my head any longer, and I wouldn’t have to talk about it ever again. It was now done, and that weight was gone. I have to say — that it was the best feeling I’ve had, in a really long time!

ALIVE: What was the one biggest play during your NFL career that meant the most to you?

TB: When I came into the league after winning the Heisman Trophy and being the Raiders first round draft pick, I’m sure people were thinking, “Can he do all this amazing stuff again?” I really didn’t know. I knew I was going to try hard… that was a given. My first play in the NFL was a 97-yard kickoff return. Fifteen minutes into my first game, I had accomplished running one back for a touchdown. Now folks might be thinking, “Maybe this kid ‘is’ the real deal after all!” Being able to go forward, and not worrying about the crazy stuff, really freed me up with not owning expectations from others. That play catapulted me into the career I had. My thought was, “If you never return another kickoff again… I made it.” That play was so great for me, because it happened the first time I touched the ball.

ALIVE: What one player, or more, did you admire the most, look up to, and try to emulate with your play? Was he a childhood hero, or possibly a competitor, or teammate along the way?

TB: Growing up in Dallas, I loved the cowboys! Especially Roger Staubach, and Tony Dorsett. I obviously couldn’t emulate Roger, but I loved his toughness. Tony D on the other hand, was someone I thought I could emulate. That was until I got hit hard trying to run a dive play, and I realized right then — that I should be out playing wide receiver!

ALIVE: In your book: The Making of a Man: How Men And Boys Honor God And Live With Integrity — you reference mentors that graced your life. Who were your top three, and why?Adobe Photoshop PDF

TB: Well, First… I’d have to start with my Pop. Dad to me, was a great role model, and taught me to be a man. Not a spiritual man… but a man. I would not have become the man I am today without his guidance. He was about accountability in life, and being responsible to your family. He was tough, life made him that way, and he owned a hard work ethic. He planted strong family values and virtues in me. I dedicated my book to him. Pop was the ultimate patriarch. Just like any father-son relationship, we had our ups and downs. But, God had a plan for both of us, and it couldn’t have turned out any better. I’ll admit that I was scared of him half the time, but whatever it took, to get it done, Pop got it done with me. I am grateful to be his son, and I love him for it. I wish he was still with us, so I could tell him again, just how grateful I am for all that he did.

Second, would be my pastor, Lafayette Whitley Sr. who I had known, and attended his church since I was twelve. Pastor Whitley taught me how to be a spiritual man. I think of him as my spiritual mentor. He told me that no matter how many Heisman’s, or other awards you win, it really doesn’t matter when it comes to living for God. It was tough for me to really grasp this early on because I was young and dumb. Doing what I was doing back then, I finally realized was not what God wanted me to do. My pastor was that much needed support to keep me on the path of Christian faith, and not step too far outside the lines later on.

And third, in terms of football and life, is Lou Holtz, my coach at Notre Dame. If not for him, I believe I wouldn’t have won the Heisman trophy. He was one of the most influential men in my life. He encouraged me, and told me that I could be the best player in the country. He saw something in me that was too close for me to see, and brought it out. What he did for me, was give me the strength to push harder, and it made me better. Without him as a mentor, I don’t end up a first round pick to the Raiders. This was life changing, because lower picks don’t give you the same opportunity for greater goals to be achieved with your career. Coach Holtz… got me there.

Tim was the best and most intelligent player I ever coached.  Lou Holtz ~ Former Notre Dame Head Coach and TV Analyst

ALIVE: You dedicated your book to your Dad, but you also comment passionately about your Mother. What was the greatest trait she instilled in you?

TB: Godliness above all! She has been a pillar of faith, as far as walking what she talks! I joke sometimes about having Josephine faith! It doesn’t get any stronger than that!

ALIVE: What life, or football experience, profoundly affected your ego, and left you eating humble pie?

TB: What kept me humbled with football was knowing that one moment you are the hero, but the next, you can be the goat! In life, my mom told me that all the Heisman and Pro Bowl stuff was going to stay out of her house!! Inside, I was going to be “Timmy”— not Tim Brown!! To this day… that keeps me humble.

ALIVE: What’s next, after the Hall of Fame?

TB: The disposition of the platform that the Hall of Fame gives you is big. What it will do, is help me to better support the charities I am involved with like: Statistics show that seven thousand kids drop out of school each day. We want to keep those kids in school. The ones deemed to drop out of school; we’ve been able to help them graduate. Another is This organization is a character development group. Everson Walls — who grew up in Dallas like me, and played the bulk of his NFL career with Dallas — the two of us go around speaking to kids using character examples to get through tough situations. Then there is the that Howie Long encouraged me to get involved with in 1999, and I’ve done so since. It’s a program for fatherless boys that are paired with CHP mentors for the week. I have wanted to do this kind of stuff ever since I was a sophomore in college so others could have that, too. To further support the 9-1-1 For Kids, this year, I am again hosting the Annual 9-1-1 Golf Classic. This one is our 21st year. If you’re able, please sign up, and come out and support our cause in serving more kids,

ALIVE: How do you share your faith with young kids?tb_run

TB: I tell them that I had many sleepless nights until I was twenty-nine, and knowing that I wasn’t doing what God wanted me to do. I say that deep down, I knew that only what I did for Christ, was going to last. Now I knew that all the great plays I made were happening for this reason. Once I got that down, it made me a better person. I say to those young kids I mentor, “You can do all you want, and do it well. But, if it’s not for God’s purpose, it’s for naught.”

ALIVE: Why does yours, and other peoples’ legacies matter?

TB: At the end of our time, if asked what is left behind, and the answer is only money and land… I believe in God’s eyes, we would have failed. Only what we do for Christ will last!

ALIVE: What one thing that occurred in your life, made, and left the greatest long lasting impact on your heart? How does that one etching struck there, affect what you do on a daily basis?

TB: There are a couple of things that happened. One was when my dad and I had a run in one night, things got crazy, and I thought he was going to kill me because he was intoxicated… I vowed that night that I would never touch alcohol, and I haven’t! Later, when I was 18, while swimming at the ocean, I had an epiphany while lying on the beach. In this vision, I saw that I had gotten too far out in the water, and I thought I was going to drown. While lying on the beach, the Holy Spirit spoke to me and said, “Just like you almost got too far out in the water naturally, spiritually, you can get too far out, and can’t get back, too.” Both left their mark on my heart and my mind, and I carry them as a boundary with things I do on a daily basis. It’s what helps keep my priorities in line.#11 - TIM BROWN 9-1-1 GOLF GROUP PIC

ALIVE: Do you believe in destiny, and was it destiny for you to achieve what you have?

TB: Yes, I do. I believe God allows things to flow into our life, for us to use them, for His glory! My football accomplishments and this NFL Hall of Fame platform is not just for me to have a Gold Jacket, Bust and a Ring! It’s for me to use to get in doors, where maybe before the Hall of Fame; I couldn’t get in, and tell people about Christ.

We need men like Tim Brown in our world. Too many boys and teens lack a role model who can show them what being a man is all about. Too many fathers and leaders have forgotten or never learned what true manhood looks like. It isn’t hard to find the bad examples—we see them in the news all the time. Tim is one of those guys. He is living a life of significance, helping others better themselves through word and deed. ~ Lou Holtz

I met Tim Brown in 2014, at a Father’s Day weekend event where he was speaking about his new book, and knew that I had to get to know “Touchdown Timmy — Mr. Raider” better; it just seemed so natural, to do so. Hearing him share his story, I knew I had to learn what it was at the heart and soul of this champion, and what went into The Making of a Man.

Very soon, I discovered that there was something deeper that spurred his rise to football’s highest honor: the NFL Hall of Fame. Tim Brown is a man of conviction. He has a compassionate and caring heart for what matters most in life — love.

Tim walks his talk, and that broad, engaging smile of his inoculates your heart and soul with its imbibing infectiousness. He’s the “real deal” folks, and if you ever get the chance to meet “Mr. Raider” I know you’ll sense it in him, too.

To order Tim’s book or tho book Tim to speak at your next event visit website at:

Read more about “Mr. Raider” here:

Photos Courtesy The Oakland Raiders and Notre Dame University, and The 911 for Kids Foundation.


Comedy is Serious Business

Last night, Wednesday night, July 8th, I performed a five minute set of stand-up comedy at Tommy T’s Comedy Club in Pleasanton. My good friend and comedy mentor, David VanAvermaete, talked me into “The Stand-Up Experience” as the premise for this very article. As invigorating as it was, I still feel like I might throw up.

Guy laughing out loudTeaching Mike stand-up comedy is somewhat like teaching a bird to fly. Assuming the bird is a penguin. – DVA

When David initially told me he would be producing a show and brought up the idea, my immediate response was, “Let me think about it…No!” Doing a live stand-up comedy routine on stage was never on my bucket list. I’ll admit that I like attention and the spot light as much as the next guy (OK, more than the next guy), but utter humiliation is not how I envision getting it. David assured me that under his tutelage, I would craft a set worthy of applause and laughter. Hence began my crash course in Stand-Up 101.

This could be a springboard for Mike to explore other forms of comedy. Mime comes to mind – DVA

Prior to our first meeting, David had me write out a word-for-word set. I then performed it for him at his home in San Ramon one sunny day in June. He provided me with techniques on structure, conceptual formula (keep the jokes about myself and my life), word placement and pacing. We met once a week for three weeks as I tightened the content, flow and timing of my set. I was still tweaking my material right up until show time, which probably hurt me because I forgot a few key jokes once up on stage.

Mike’s set started off slow and then tapered off. – DVA

The line-up for last night’s show featured MC, Ben Feldman, who opened and performed for 15 minutes. That was followed by my short set of five minutes. After me, Michael Slack did 15 minutes, followed by featured act, Anthony Hill, who did 20 minutes. Headliner David VanAvermaete, performed a modified version of his full set (30 minutes). The other comedians—now that I can technically call myself a comedian—were incredibly welcoming and supportive. I had met Anthony Hill previously and his encouragement was very heartfelt. I am a big fan of Anthony and last night he was trying out quite a bit of new material, not all of which drew big laughs. Anthony’s ability to roll with the crowd’s tepid response and “transition” was inspiring.

When Mike went up on the stage an anticipatory hush came over the crowd. Unfortunately, the hush persisted well into his set. – DVA

Fortunately, several audience members accidentally laughed… when they got their bill. –DVA

There were approximately 75-80 people in the crowd at Tommy T’s for the show, along with a few close friends and family. Their support (and forced laughter) was very much appreciated. I really wasn’t as nervous as one might expect, probably because I was focused on not forgetting my lines. Below is an excerpt from my set.

1. As you heard, this is my first time on stage and I’ll admit to being nervous. Hopefully my first joke won’t involve me crapping my pants, although that would be funny….to you.
2. I’m so green I didn’t even know what to wear tonight. Someone suggested something to make me look younger and thinner so I went over to Macys at the mall and asked them to direct me to their catfish and pedophile department.
3. Much to my surprise, they had one.
4. This is my joke set list, which I’m going to place on this stool. It’s there to help me find my place just in case I get lost or more likely, have a panic attack or pass out from vertigo. (Said as I look over the edge of the stage)
5. This is a lot higher than the last stage I appeared on, that being the coffee table in our family room. I sure miss my lucky American Girl Doll mic right about now.
6. For those you who don’t know me, my name is Mike Copeland. I am 52 years old, but I’ve been told by a lot of people that I don’t look a day over 60
7. They never tell you as a kid that the first two things to go on an aging white male are hair and butt and I don’t know which one is receding faster?
8. My hair started to recede when I was about thirty one or thirty two…months old.
9. “Receding’ is probably an understatement. The definition of recede is to retreat, well my hair line has retreated all the way down to my shoulders. I think we can all agree that my hairline has finally surrendered.
10. The good news is a local plastic surgeon has asked me to be their “after” photo for their new butt reduction procedure.
11. I guess it could be worse. Loose fitting jeans and the lack of a pocket comb are better than the alternative, that being the three “I” words; incompetence, incontinence and impotence.
12. I am married, sorry ladies. Just like the steak here at Tommy T’s, this boner in Rib Eye is off the menu.
13. 21 years ago I was sentenced to life and ever since, I’ve been doing time at the suburban slow death penitentiary.
14. I kid. My wife is here tonight and she has a great sense of humor, however if I read her body language correctly there goes any hope for a “conjugal visit”. (use air quotes)
15. I bet tonight as we get ready for be there may be a role reversal to our little game. I’ll probably end up being the guard and she’ll be the prisoner who’s just been executed by lethal injection.
16. I have two beautiful teenage daughters, thank you again for that sympathetic round of applause.
17. I’m kind of proud to say, that within their peer group, I’m the cool dad.
18. Probably because I buy them and their friends pot, beer and cigarettes.
19. I’m only kidding, I don’t buy them cigarettes.
20. I love my daughters and they love their…. cell phones, debit cards and anything WiFi.
21. As you heard during my intro, I am writer. Most of the magazines I write for don’t offer home delivery, but you can these periodicals in local bookstores in section entitled, FREE, Take One.
22. Currently, I’m with ALIVE magazine. It’s a lot like Vanity Fair or the New Yorker in that it’s got a front cover, back cover and pages with words and pictures.
23. I write a humor lifestyle column, and I’m pretty sure I know what a lot of you are thinking right now……When did Tommy’s have steak on the menu?
24. The rest of you are probably thinking, “He writes humor? Why not write about what you know more about, like humiliation?
25. I’m not certain that my writing will translate from the page to the stage, as I find that I’m at my most hilarious when I’m sitting alone in my home office late at night, pantless.
26. I find that by not wearing pants, I’m less inhibited, more relaxed and the creative juices are free flowing.
27. Unfortunately, Tommy has a “Must Wear Pants on Stage” policy.
28. I suppose if I was Jerry Seinfeld he might waive that policy. Seinfeld impression: What’s the deal with pants? I’m not wearing them!?
29. When it comes to impressions, I’ve been told my Jerry Seinfeld sounds a lot like Jerry Seinfeld imitating Don Knotts during a prostate exam.
30. In addition to my magazine writing, I have two books in publication. I’m proud to tell you that they are currently on the bestseller list …at the Trunk of My Car Bookstore.
31. We have one convenient location… wherever I am.

I had a bit about a recent traffic incident being the result of “Roid Rage”, hemorrhoids not steroids. I surmised that anal fissures were the cause of Dr. David Banner’s metamorphoses into the Hulk, but it wasn’t really coming together and caused my set to run long. There was also a joke about getting advice from the employees at Tommy T’s immediately following their employee comedy competition, Last Busboy Standing. This bit lacked punch lines. My big ending was a joke about my dogs and some of their inappropriate behavior, but it’s not really suitable for a family magazine and I forgot half of it when I was up on stage.

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any less funny, Mike launched into some impersonations. – DVA

For a first timer, Mike had great poise and pretty good timing. He gave the impression he had done this at least once before. – Scot Wilson

I’ve seen worse comics who performed for longer. Mike got some respectable laughs. – Derek Sousa

I liken the whole Stand-up experience to skydiving. The first time I tandem jumped, the adrenaline was pumping and it was exhilarating, but it was somewhat of a surreal blur. The second time I jumped, I was completely in the moment and it was so much more rewarding. Performing stand-up comedy takes a lot more courage than skydiving, but I would consider doing another 5-7 minute set in the future hoping to absorb it all slightly better. I guess I could always turn my house into a comedy club (Mikey C’s) for a night and do my routine from our family room coffee table with my lucky American Girl Doll karaoke mic. Thank you, I’ll be here all week. Two shows; nine and eleven, don’t forget to tip your waitresses.

Watching Mike do comedy is like finding a condom in your teenage son’s wallet – awkward and embarrassing, mixed with a little pride. –DVA

My best advice to Mike is to taper off his performance schedule over the next 4 weeks and then quit altogether. –DVA

The 16th Annual Eugene O’Neill Festival Comes to Danville in September

The coming year may prove to be a banner year for the Eugene O’Neill National Historic site in Danville.
At Tao House in the Danville hills, playwright Eugene O’Neill and his wife Carlotta lived from1937-1944, and it is here that O’Neill penned his most notable plays, including A Long Days Journey into Night, The Iceman Cometh, and A Moon for the Misbegotten. During his lifetime the playwright received four Pulitzer prizes for Literature, and in 1936 was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature – the only American to ever receive this award. The playwright is regarded by many as “The Father of American Drama.”

Not only is 2016 the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, which operates the site in Danville , but the coming year has even greater significance for the Eugene O’Neill Foundation, Tao House. The non-profit Foundation is getting ready to celebrate with its 16th Annual Eugene O’Neill Festival from September 4 to October 4.

“The annual O’Neill gives us the opportunity to bring greater attention to O’Neill’s legacy,” says Foundation Co-President Gary Schaub. “Throughout the year the Eugene O’Neill Foundation coordinates a number of educational and community events, but the annual O’Neill Festival is at the top of our agenda.”

“We’re calling this year’s Festival ‘A Season of Desire,’” says Eric Fraisher Hayes, artistic director for the Foundation. “We experience desire through the eyes of two of America’s greatest playwrights. Through the Festival events, we’ll explore the drives behind the role of desire in human experiences.”

Working closely with Role Players Ensemble of Danville, the Town of Danvillle, and the Museum of the San Ramon Valley, the Eugene O’Neill Foundation will sponsor a month-long series of performances and events for the community in downtown Danville and at the Old Barn stage at the O’Neill Historic Site.

A full schedule of all Festival events can be found online at Tickets for events are available at the Town of Danville’s ticket service at

The Festival opens on September 4 with Role Players Ensemble production of Tennessee Williams’ classic play A Streetcar Named Desire at the Village Theatre in downtown Danville. Directed by George McGuire, performances run through September 19.

The O’Neill Foundation will highlight the Festival with performances of O’Neill’s Desire Under the Elms in the Old Barn at Tao House. This production opens September 18 and runs through September 27.

In addition to the two staged productions, the 16tth Annual Eugene O’Neill Festival has scheduled several panel discussions, tours and talks on themes related to the Festival theme of “Desire.”

A special screening of the 1951 Academy Award-winning film A Streetcar Named Desire is planned for Thursday, September 10 at the Village Theatre, featuring Marlon Brando and Vivien Leigh.

A lively panel discussion, “100 Years of Desire” will be held at the Old Barn at Tao House on Saturday, September 19, to review desire as depicted in cinema, theatre and literature.

Biographer and novelist, John Lahr, son of comic Bert Lahr, will discuss his biography of Tennessee Williams and his new book “Joyride” at Rakestraw Books in Danville on Sunday, October 4.

Latin American Music – Ole!

Latin American music is a very popular genre of music in this county and in many countries around the world. Its exciting rhythms and melodies are played and sung everywhere – radio, television, films, live concerts, small and large celebrations, weddings and numerous other events.

Man Wearing Traditional ClothingLatin American music is enjoyed and appreciated by both Hispanics and non-Hispanics alike. This music is primarily from Spanish and Portuguese countries and Latin American territories; also some French speaking countries.

Roots of pre-Columbian cultures can be seen today in traditional Latin music. Historians and musicologists agree that pre-Columbian civilizations of Aztec, Incan and Mayan cultures provided the proof that music was important in governmental institutions, war and religion. Three significant elements stand out as sources of a strange admixture of our present day Latin American music:

1. Indigenous music from the ancient Indian inhabitants of Latin America in the form of melodies and rhythms.

2. The Spanish and Portuguese, brought cultural treasures from Europe that consisted of folk songs, dances and church music. They also brought musical scales, harmonies and rhythms they had known in their native land.

3. Slaves brought, from Africa and the West Indies, syncopated rhythms and chromatic notes. This gave the music of Latin America a distinctive African style that it has never lost.

Man Wearing Traditional Clothing Playing GuitarThese three components have influenced not only contemporary Mexican, South American folk music and the popular music of the people but also the serious art music of noted composers. “The particular social and geographical conditions of Central and South America have blended these components into a style of music that is strikingly original, rhythmically fascinating, melodically pleasing and thoroughly alive,” wrote McKinney and W. R. Anderson in their book Discovering Music.

Songs and dances from Latin America have become very popular. The Salsa is based on Afro-Cuban rhythms and rock and jazz styles. The Samba is music from Brazil.

The word Samba means ‘to pray.’ The Bosa Nova is also very well-known from Brazil. The Calypso is from Trinidad with its vital rhythms and strange sounding English. The Tango; Rhumba; Mambo; Paso Doble; Conga; Habanera; Cha-Cha and Meringue are great Latin American dances. These have become popular and well known in European and North American cultures.

A very familiar and popular aspect of Latin music is the Mariachi band. The Mariachi music we know today was developed in the 19th century in the southern part of the state of Jalisco in Mexico. Originally, the Mexican ensemble of folk musicians consisted of two violins acoustic guitar, vihuela (a five string high pitched guitar), guitarron (a large bass guitar) and a Mexican folk harp. Later, trumpets were added and became a very important element of the contemporary Mariachi band, sometimes eclipsing the violins.The size of the ensemble varies.

Sergio Mendes; Richie Valens; Freddy Fender; Carlos Santana; Jose Feliciano; Gloria Estefan; Selena Gomez; Enrique Iglesias; Ricky Martin; Jennifer Lopez: Shakira and Christina Aguilera are some of the many Latin American music performers from the recent past and present.

Latin American music has certainly made its mark in the contemporary popular music field. But equally important is the serious art music of noted composers. Two individuals, Carlos Chavez (1899-1978) and Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887-1959) stand out as composers of significant contributions to great music.

Chavez was born in Mexico City. He was a conductor and composer as well as a teacher and performer. His music reflects an indigenous blend that came from the folk music of Mexico. Chavez encouraged many composers to write true Mexican music. A hallmark of his career was, he founded and conducted Mexico’s first symphony orchestra.

Villa-Lobos, a native of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, was known as Brazil’s greatest composer. His compositions used Brazilian folk music as a basis. He was almost entirely self-taught. Extremely prolific, he wrote over 1400 works in virtually every musical idiom. Villa-Lobos put Brazil on the musical map. Under Brazil’s new nationalist regime, he was put in charge of organizing the musical life of Brazil. His educational reforms included the reorganization of the teaching of music in the schools. This proved to be very beneficial for the people of the nation.

The contributions of Latin American composers and musicians have enriched the musical fabric of countries not only “south of the border” but certainly the world in general. They have brought much enjoyment, entertainment and enlightenment to people beyond their borders.
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Community Band.

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