New Mexico Distinguished Public Service Awards 2012
Recognizing Those Committed to Making a Difference
Noberta Fresquez
Ms. Norberta Fresquez is the founder and producer of Mariachi Spectacular, an event held every July in Albuquerque. Operating on a shoestring budget, Noberta is a one-woman production dynamo in planning each year’s event, preceded by gathering together a host of helpful volunteers (she calls them “my angels”) to assist with the three-day workshops: the Friday night Showcase, the Saturday Spectacular, and the Sunday Mass. Ms. Fresquez brings in master instructors to impart their knowledge to some 400 students during the workshops. Students learn about the Mariachi history, its culture, musical theory, ensemble production, musical arrangements and ballet folklorico, culminating in a Showcase Concert that Friday evening, open and free to the public.

Her goals are to provide scholarships to students who otherwise might not attend the educational workshops; to provide a cultural understanding of folk and Mexican music; to help build bridges for intercultural understanding and appreciation in Albuquerque and other New Mexico communities; to provide a foundation for lifelong learning in the arts; and to promote cultural arts and excellence in art education.

Ms. Fresquez provides additional volunteer time and energy to support community causes, such as raising scholarship funds for minority students, thereby developing an Hispanic mentorship program for at-risk elementary school children in the South Valley. Noberta coordinated a fund-raising event to cover expenses incurred by Mexican students critically injured in an automobile accident while in Mexico to perform. She also started the first elementary school Mariachi group at East San Jose Elementary, and has provided untold hours of free consultation to non-profit organizations on coordinating and planning entertainment events.

Ms. Fresquez has been recognized nationally and internationally for her expertise in cultural entertainment. She is a recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the New Mexico Hispano Music Association, and also received the Mark Ipiotis Award by the New Mexico Hispanic Entertainers. In 1997, Noberta was honored by the New Mexico State Board of Education for her outstanding work in providing Mariachi music education to public school children in the state. She also received an award from the Mexican Consulate office in Albuquerque for her many contributions to preserving the Mexican culture. And in 2006, Noberta was a recipient of the Creative Bravo Award.

Finally, this, from the letter of nomination written by members of the Board of Directors for Mariachi Spectacular: “Noberta’s superior communication and team-building skills make her a true New Mexico treasure. … She truly emulates that this (distinguished service) award is all about.”