by Shardai Zaragoza ‘13
Cindy Donis (‘13) is a Chicana/o and Gender/Feminist Studies dual major. Natalia Mendoza (‘13) studies Sociology and Chicana/o Studies. Both are writing their senior project on Rockabilly as a socio-cultural production. Cindy recently presented at the annual NACCS (National Association of Chicana/o Studies) conference in San Antonio, TX.
Rockabilly Festival is a music and arts event sponsored by the Latina/o Student Union. The festival brings live music, local artists, vendors, food, and custom cars to Pitzer’s campus. Mar. 9, 2013 was the festival’s sixth year in production.
Orange Peel: What made you two get involved in the festival?
Donis: Hearing Professor Pantoja and others talk about the festival and the impact it has on the campus. When I saw the first festival I was really impressed by what I was seeing…the cars, the large crowd of Latinos that it attracts, the colors, and the culture…I knew it was something I wanted to get involved in. After the first year of organizing it was fun and I wanted to keep the tradition going.
Mendoza: For me, it was one of my favorite days at Pitzer my first year and a day where I felt really comfortable. This was an event that I felt like I could invite my family to. I wanted it to continue and I saw my opportunity to get involved.
Orange Peel: What impact, if any, has the festival had on you during the past four years here at Pitzer?
Mendoza: On a personal level, I think i’ve become more confident in my organizing and in interacting with people and being comfortable in doing so.
Donis: Its given me a lot of experience and skills which will be really helpful in what I do in the future. It was also a confidence booster.
Mendoza: Yeah, learning the behind the scenes, learning how to contact people, how to be part of a team. It had a really big impact.
Orange Peel: Why do you think having this event on Pitzer’s campus is important? For Pitzer/the community?
Mendoza: Rockabilly Festival is a really good venue to practice Pitzer’s core values of intercultural understanding and social responsibility. It brings two very distinct worlds in a space together.
Donis: Yeah, this year LSU collaborated with Pomona High Schools MEChA club. They not only participated as volunteers but the funds we made at the festival through raffle tickets, car registration, and vendor and t-shirt sales went towards their college scholarship fund. We also had a presence of community organizations at the festival to spread awareness about local issues.
Orange Peel: What are you most going to miss about being part of this festival?
Mendoza: I’ll miss seeing it all come together on the day of.
Donis: I really liked seeing the families enjoying the festival.
Orange Peel: Any last words?
Donis: It was a team effort so I want to thank all of those that were a part of helping make the festival happen. Also the other previous organizers that we all learned from.
Mendoza: I’m excited to see what the students come up with next year!
As the third lead organizer for the Rockabilly Festival, I can’t help but agree with what both Donis and Mendoza had to say about the festival and their part in it. Throughout the past four years of being here at Pitzer and organizing the festival, I have found great work experience, stress, excitement, and friendships. Rockabilly Fest has grown so much since its origin six years ago and I hope it continues to do soon Pitzer’s campus.