DESCRIPTION - Jovita Idár was known for saying, “when you educate a woman, you educate a family.” (Alexander)
Rita Vidaurri Eden (1924-2019)
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On stage, Vidaurri projected a self-assured persona, bantering with the audience, making wisecracks, and telling slightly bawdy jokes. She often wore pants when she performed. Yet, her personal life was also filled with hardship and struggle. Most tragically, she endured the death of three grown sons and suffered bouts of depression and illness over the years. Yet, Vidaurri never stopped singing. In 2004 she released a new CD, “La Calandria,” produced with the assistance of Salomé Gutierrez, owner of another West Side cultural institution, Del Bravo Record Shop.
In 2004 she also joined other legendary Ranchera singers Beatriz “La Paloma del Norte” Llamas, Blanca “Blanquita Rosa” Rodríguez and Anita Janet “Perla Tapatia” Cortez to form the group Las Tesoros, with the support of the Esperanza Peace and Justice Center. Ten years later, she marked her 90th birthday with another album, Celebrando 90 Años. And she was feted with another tribute concert, again produced by the Esperanza Center. It was held May 23, 2014, at the Guadalupe Theater, where she had performed as a teenager seven decades earlier. Las Tesoros issued a CD in 2017, Qué Cosa Es el Amor, to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the Esperanza Center. Their story was also featured in a 2016 documentary by filmmaker Jorge Sandoval, Las Tesoros de San Antonio: A Westside Story, which debuted at the Mission Marque Plaza, site of the old Mission Drive-In Theatre in south San Antonio. In 2018, the group was honored with an exhibit at Texas State University.
Vidaurri’s last formal public performance took place at the Esperanza Center on November 1, 2018, with Las Tesoros. Informally, she appeared every Tuesday and Thursday morning at a San Antonio restaurant called Flor de Chiapas. A corner booth was always reserved for her and a small group of fellow musicians who gathered for the friendly sing-alongs, where customers would always give her a standing ovation.
Vidaurri died on January 16, 2019. She was honored posthumously when Las Tesoros was recognized by the San Antonio Arts Commission and the City of San Antonio, in a ceremony at the Tobin Center, as 2019 Distinction in the Arts Honorees, for providing “enduring and effective cultural leadership” and “exceptional artistic accomplishments” in the San Antonio arts community.
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