Mexican Heritage Corporation Program Management

Marcela Davison Avilés – President and CEO/Executive Producer

Marcela Davison AvilesA first generation Mexican-American, Marcela is a graduate of Harvard College and Stanford Law School. She has served as counsel in the areas of banking, motion pictures, television and stage production, with specific experience in the areas of corporate, copyrights, contracts, and bank regulatory law. Prior to her position with the Mexican Heritage Plaza, she served as Executive Director of the Latino Community Foundation in San Francisco. Formerly, she served as Chief Executive Officer and President of Blackboard Entertainment. Her background also includes consulting and corporate legal experience in the bank regulatory area with both Federal and state agencies, law firm practice, non-profit Board membership in arts and education and extensive press and public speaking

Leigh Henderson – Fund Development

Leigh HendersonLeigh has been a friend and supporter of our organization for many years, including overseeing operations and finance for our multitude of cultural programs.
Leigh has played a variety of roles with us, which isn’t surprising because of her theatrical background! Besides having an MBA in arts administration, she also possesses great experience in scenic and lighting design and technical direction. Many theater and cultural groups have benefited from her expertise.

Orlando Castro – Managing Director

Orlando Castro is a Grammy award winning songwriter and musician as well as a respected and honored music educator.

A native of Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico, Orlando has been performing professionally since he was 17 years old. His songwriting credits include two songs for Luis Miguel’s breakthrough album, “ARIES” (WEA 1993), which won the 1994 Grammy Award for best “Latin Pop Album.” In 1994 he was awarded BMI’s 1994 Song Of The Year for the song, “Suave”, also sung by Luis Miguel. “Suave” reached the top nine (9) Billboard Hot Latin Tracks for all of 1994. In 1997, Orlando’s song, “Si Te Vas”, was included in “Billboard Hot Latin Tracks: Best of Pop 1997 : Various Artists”. Both of Orlando’s songs, “Suave” and “Si Te Vas”, are featured in Luis Miguel’s remix album “No Culpes a La Noche – The Club Remixes” (Warner Music 2009) and reached #4 on the Mexican and USA Latin charts. Orlando’s experience as a music educator includes teaching privately and in the public schools in Monterey County as well as administrative and management experience. In 2008 Orlando was honored by the Arts Council of Monterey County as a Champion of the Arts for his leadership as Executive Director of the Alisal Center for the Fine Arts in Salinas.

Catherine John – Director of Music Education programs

Catherine JohnCatherine has a master of arts degree in community music from the University of Limerick, Ireland, and a diploma of advanced studies in French literature and language from the University of Bordeaux, France, as well as a bachelor of arts degree in romance literatures with a minor in music from Pomona College here in California.
Catherine has coordinated youth music projects in such diverse locations as France, Mexico and Ireland and is also a skilled singer and player of the jarana and violin. Most recently, she has been a teaching artist and project manager at Enriching Lives through Music in Marin County.

Judy Rowcliffe and Trisha Clayton, Communications and Public Relations

Judy brings over 20 years experience in marketing and public relations to VivaFest! She has managed public-relations efforts, led award-winning teams and taught media and public relations. But mostly, she’s helps the festival share its story to the world. And when it comes to pitching the unique story of our festival’s artists, productions, crew, sponsors, students and community impact, there’s no one more passionate than Trisha. Together, Judy and Trisha form an incredible team. If you’ve heard the latest great news about our unique VivaFest, chances are you were captivated by our daring duo.

Monica Ramos – Program Coordinator, Mariachi and Folklorico Festival

Monica RamosMonica Ramos has been associated with the Mexican Heritage Corporation and the San Jose Mariachi Festival since the festival’s inception. She presently coordinates the Pee Wee mariachi program and the festival workshops and volunteer corp. Her years of experience and dedication to mariachi music and education have established her as a leader in the San Francisco Bay Area mariachi community

Mario Lleverino – Chief Financial Officer

Rene Forunda – Production Accountant

22nd Annual Mariachi Festival Staff

Jose Hernandez – Music Director, Mariachi Programs

Jose-SML1Jose Hernandez is an internationally reknowned musician, music educator and music director. Founder of Mariachi Sol de Mexico in 1981, Jose has performed with some of the most respected and beloved artists in the music industry. He is also an innovator in music education, and established the Mariachi Heritage Society in 1991 to provide standards-based mariachi music instruction in the Los Angeles area and nationwide.

Jose Ronstadt – Master of Ceremonies

Jose RonstadtDescribed as “a man who uses wit, enthusiasm and knowledge to make things happen,” José A. Ronstadt is well known in the Latino community not only for his television background, but also for his long activism on behalf of Hispanic causes. His extensive career in international, national and local television has provided him with experience both as a top-level executive, public speaker and as a television personality. Most recently he was inducted into the International Mariachi Hall of Fame. Mr. Ronstadt currently serves as news anchor for “Conteo Informativo” and “Noticias 22″ on KWHY-TV 22/ NBC/Telemundo, Monday thru Friday at 7p.m. and 10 p.m. There he was recently awarded three Golden Mikes for “Best Hard News Reporting – Chavez Ravine,” “Best Light News Reporting – The Million Dollar Theatre” and “Best Live Reporting – The Chalino Sanchez Riots.” Mr. Ronstadt has also acted as host and producer of a number of television shows and network specials, among them: “Hola America,” (Univision) a live international show which combined fun and games with the most serious content, reflecting Mr. Ronstadt’s personality, “Voces Del Pueblo” (Univision) which united for the first time the communities of San Antonio, Texas, New York, Miami, Florida and Los Angeles, California in a national town hall dedicated to the most critical Hispanic issues.

Mr. Ronstadt served as Host and Executive producer of Telemundo KVEA-TV, Channel 52’s morning news and entertainment program titled “Hola Los Angeles.” This program covered a variety of topics ranging from the latest news and Latino issues to sports, entertainment and much more. Mr. Ronstadt also served as the senior anchor of KVEA-TV, Channel 52’s newscast “Noticiero Telemundo 52.” There Mr. Ronstadt was awarded the Golden Mike for “Best Half Hour Newscast in California” and the Golden Mike for “Best Commentary” in Television in California.

Mr. Ronstadt also served as host and MC for a number of events, including The Tucson International Mariachi Conference, Las Cruces Mariachi Festival, The Mexican Heritage Plaza Annual Mariachi Festival, National Council of La Raza Annual Banquet, The San Antonio Mexican-American Physicians’ Annual fund raiser, Xicanindio’s Celebrity Fund-raising Dinner, Hispanic Charity Ball, Madres De El Este de Los Angeles Santa Isabel Annual Scholarship Banquet, New Horizons Annual Fundraising Gala and Valentine’s Annual Auction and Chicanos Por La Causa Annual Fund-raising Banquet. Arizona State University announced in 2006 the naming of the José Ronstadt Outstanding Undergraduate and Graduate Student Awards for his contributions to academics and Latinos at the university.

Jose Delgado – Festival Production Consultant

Jose has over thirty-eight years experience in theater and artist management as a General Manager, Tour Manager, Administrator, Producer and Business Manager while working for KROST/CHAPIN MANAGEMENT, PETER ASHER MANAGEMENT, THE LOS ANGELES THEATER CENTER, EL TEATRO CAMPESINO and ROBINWOOD ENTERPRISES.

He tour managed eight national tours for Linda Ronstadt including the theatrical production of Canciones de Mi Padre, Cry like a Rainstorm Howl like the Wind featuring Aaron Neville, and Mas Canciones. He also tour managed her national tour with the Pittsburg Symphony as well as Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris’ Western Wall: The Tucson Sessions tour. As a manager of recording artists, he has worked with Krost/Chapin Management and Peter Asher Management. He was the Administrator for the Los Angeles Theatre Center’s Latino Theatre Lab. As a company member of El Teatro Campesino he served in various capacities including Administrative Director, Producer and Tour Manager. He managed the company on three national and two European tours. Currently, he is the owner of PLEIADES MANAGEMENT, manages Mariachi Sol de Mexico and Mariachi Reina de Los Angeles, and author Ruben Martinez. Some of his other clients have included playwright Oliver Mayer, the ensemble known as the Taco Shop Poets, and the Spanish language band Maria Fatal. Mr. Delgado was also the Chair of Cornerstone Theater Companies’ board of directors.

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