EDINBURG - Local Tejano singing sensation Roberto Pulido performed May 11 before a large audience at the Edinburg City Auditorium for a scholarship fund-raising concert benefiting The University of Texas-Pan American.
Pulido, who last year began dedicating a concert annually to raise scholarship funds for UTPA music students, was joined by son Bobby Pulido, Little Joe and accordionist David Lee Garza.
The first half of the program featured a performance by the UTPA Mariachi Ensemble, with special appearances by Roberto Pulido, Little Joe and Manuel Vargas of Mariachi Vargas. Bobby Pulido and his band performed the entire second half, with his father, Little Joe and Garza accompanying him on stage.
Sylvia Chapa of Pharr was one of many fans who enjoyed the show.
"This event is for a good cause, and it's nice to keep the money in the Valley and get children the education they need," Chapa said. "I'm a Tejano fan in general, and I enjoy all these musicians."
Renee Pena of McAllen, another Tejano aficionado, came with a friend. She agreed with Chapa about the concert's significance in encouraging ambitious musicians to attend UTPA.
"When I started going to college, I know I needed the money, so this is for a good cause," Pena said. "I'm also here because I'm a big Bobby Pulido fan. I like his music and the beat. It's good to dance to."
Roberto Pulido, also known as "El Primo," is a 1973 graduate of the UTPA Department of Music. After teaching at PSJA High School for a short time, he established "Roberto Pulido y Los Clasicos."
"I got a four-year scholarship to Pan Am, and I just want to help out artists that need the help and have the qualifications to study music," said Pulido, who won his first Tejano Music Award for male vocalist in 1980.
"I want to give back to the community for what it's done for me. It's also real important to recognize so many other musicians that have done so much for our culture over the years."
Born in Edinburg, Roberto Pulido began his music career at age 23 and has been in the industry more than 25 years. He remains popular today, and two of his three children, Bobby and Alma, have followed his musical footsteps.
"I take life one day at a time, and as long as I'm healthy, I'm going to continue playing as long as I can," he said. "But looking back, one of the most beautiful things I've experienced with the music business isn't the fame or money but all the people we've met over the years."
Dahlia Guerra, chair of the UTPA Department of Music, said scholarship recipients are chosen according to musical qualifications and financial need. Four $500 scholarships were awarded last year, and the goal this year is to raise $5,000.
"We think it's very, very generous of him to care about his alma mater and put this much work into his own fundraiser," Guerra said. "It's nice of him because he's very busy, and we're all extremely appreciative of his time and efforts."
Edinburg Mayor Joe Ochoa echoed Guerra's appreciation for Pulido's efforts.
"I'm very proud of this individual," Ochoa said. "I went to school with this man, and he loves to give back to his community."