‘Tribute to Patsy Cline’ fund-raiser concert

By Naquita Rivas
Special to The PREVIEW

Photo courtesy Geraldine Marquez McPhearson
June Marquez performs her “Tribute to Patsy Cline” at the Pagosa Springs High School auditorium Dec. 29, to benefit the Americana Project at the school.

It is hard to believe it has been over two years since the first “Tribute to Patsy Cline” show was produced in Pagosa Springs.

The show was created as a fund-raising project for the Fred Harman Museum and produced over $1,000 in donations.

The show has since been produced three times; January 2011 in Bayfield, to help the Hockenbury Family with medical bills; June 2012, for the Nurturing Center of Pagosa; and August 2012 for a child’s scholarship to the Hands on Arts Camp, in Pagosa Springs.

The show has proved to be a hit with an audience of over 100 in attendance, but for June Marquez, it is only the start of a much bigger project.

A native of Archuleta County and a resident of Pagosa Springs for 12 years, June has been performing music for much of her life. It began in church, singing mass, funerals and weddings with her six sisters. Things have not changed much, as she sang for three funerals in less than two weeks this summer. What has changed, she comments, is people’s reaction, from, “Wow, I didn’t know you could sing like that,” to, “I’ve never enjoyed a funeral that much.”  June has been singing the mass a cappella with a couple of her sisters and her niece, Jessica Espinosa Trujillo.

“There is just something about pure voices without instruments that touches a person’s heart. It is a ministry to comfort those in mourning and bring hope,” June said.

Marquez returned to Fort Lewis College to pursue her bachelor’s degree in 2010. She was blessed to study under a world-renowned opera singer. FLC hired Rebecca Copley for one year, hoping she would take a more permanent position in the music department. Unfortunately, she did not accept the three-year contract, but, fortunate for Marquez, she received two semesters of applied voice lessons.

Marquez recalls her first lesson. Copley was aware June had been entertaining and told her, “I’m not here to change what you are already doing, I am here to teach you how to save your voice, so you can sing until you’re 70.” That was music to June’s ears because she felt she was getting a late start. Every week, Marquez was amazed as she listened to the seasoned voice of this almost 60-year old-woman.

“I was given an opportunity I will not throw away, it is the reason I continue to sing,” said Marquez.

So why “A Tribute to Patsy Cline?”

As a little girl, Marquez remembers her mother listening to Patsy Cline. At the age of 5, Marquez played 45s from the jukebox at her family’s bar in Arboles, Colo. The records played over and over, with the melodies embedded in her mind and heart, some being those of the late Patsy Cline.

This tribute is also in memory of June’s mother, who passed in 2000. June started singing Cline’s music over 10 years ago at karaoke venues. As people complimented her on the likeness of her renditions, she had the courage to learn more. Singing with John Graves and Debbee Tucker the first Christmas she moved here, proved to be a fabulous open door.

“It has been an awesome experience singing with John; he is a great mentor and we are very blessed to have him in our community.”

The Americana Project at Pagosa Springs High School will receive a donation from Marquez following the show. It is important we continue to support the arts in our schools. These programs will encourage young families to raise their children in Pagosa and flourish in our community.

“We are planning a great afternoon of entertainment and fellowship. Students will be performing some of their original music and displaying original art work (look for portraits of Patsy) during the intermission, as refreshments are provided by Two Chicks and a Hippie. With everyone’s help, we can make the show a little better every time. We want it to become an attraction, to help our community prosper,” Marquez said.

Bring your families to this fun-filled event at 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 29, at the Pagosa Springs High School.

Tickets are available at LouJean’s Salon, Two Chicks and a Hippie, and Made in Colorado Shoppe. Adults are $20, students $10, children under 10, free.

This story was posted on December 20, 2012.