Noé Benitez’s “Subele” Chosen for High School Marching Bands
Songwriter-musician Noé A. Benitez recently teamed with a group of Tejano living legends to take Tejano music to high school students through “Subele,” a tune that he wrote and was commissioned to arrange for marching bands.
The tune, which was originally recorded by Hugo Guerrero and also featured Rubén Ramos, Vick Nash and Wild Bill Perkins, became a hit and is now being performed by over 25 marching bands across Texas.
As Benitez said, “One of my mentors as a music mentor, Eddie Galván, believed that to keep our kids out of the streets and out of trouble, we have to keep them in music programs in the school. So we are now trying to keep them further engaged by providing Tejano music for the school curriculum with something they can further relate to.”
“The ‘Subele’ marching band arrangement was commissioned by our publisher because some of my band director friends were requesting it to be performed as a ‘stand tune’ during this football season.”
“As a former music educator, I thought it would be a noble idea to take the opportunity to introduce more Tejano music into the curriculum.”
One of the reasons Benitez is so gun-ho about today’s students learning more about Tejano music is because he grew up as a member of a migrant working family, who each year traveled from Texas to California and they packed and took their vinyl records, cassettes and 8-track tapes everywhere they went. Most other Mexican American families that did the same thus came to consider Tejano music as the music of the working class.
Unfortunately new Tejano music lacks the same level of representation since Tejano seems to be overshadowed by highly accessible main stream music genres readily available due to present day technology and media.
“Times have changed and I feel like our youth does not get a fair chance to be introduced to our culture and music, much less maintain a tradition; and I figured that bringing Tejano music to the schools could be a way to reach out to our youth,” the saxophone playing lawyer continued.
“Having the arrangement in hand, it was easier to contact my band director friends and offer them the tune as a new song for marching bands to perform at halftime during this football season. So far I hear that the kids are really enjoying playing ‘Subele’ and to me, that gives me a sense of accomplishment in my mission to expand our youth’s horizons as to our music.”
To help Benitez in the accomplishment of his goal, Guerrero and Ramos have invited high school band members to join them onstage to get a taste of what it feels like to perform Tejano music. As an example, one can see René Garcia introduce members of the Rosenberg, Texas Mighty Mustang Band as they prepare to perform “La Pollera Colorá” with the Mexican Revolution at www.youtube.com/watch?v=FwLP6koeWOM.
The icing on the cake came when “Subele” was nominated as “Duo of The Year” at this year’s Tejano Music Awards.
While the former school band director considers himself and up and coming songwriter, the fact that Tejano Soul recorded eight of his compositions and he was just nominated for a Latin Grammy contradicts his most-humble opinion. The Latin Grammy nomination is for his work with children’s music artist, Lucky Díaz, of the Family Jam Band as the composer and produced of “Fantastico!.”
Now Benitez, who co-owns the Ben Mar Music publishing company, now formed his own production company and is writing brand new material for new up and coming Tejano talent.
“Tejano female vocalist Phoebe is recording one of my songs, as well as some of her original works, for a compact disc that is being produced by Hugo Guerrero; and there’re a couple more new artists, who have already recorded some of my compositions and that I will be promoting.”
For information on how to obtain his special musical arrangement of “Subele” for your school band, one may contact Benitez at (713) 820-0168 or e-mail him at [email protected].