A CONCERT UNDER THE STARS-WITH #1 STAR VIKKI CARR! On October 1, 2005, the University of Texas-Pan American (UTPA) in Edinburg, TX held their Hispanic Engineering, Science and Technology (HESTEC) Community Day. It ran from 4-10pm and was free and open to the public. They had all kinds of science and technology exhibits including a prototype of the Mars Pathfinder land rover which was way cool and a huge hit with kids and adults alike. But, they saved the best for last: VIKKI CARR!
Yes! Vikki was scheduled to take the stage at 9pm and give a spectacular closing concert. Oh, you know, I just had to go! But, I take care of my 88 year old mother and Edinburg is about an hour and a half from where I live in Brownsville. The concert was also to be held outdoors in the Texas heat and humidity and no seating. What to do? Well, when the going gets tough, the tough get going! Where there's a will, there's a way!
BACK: Lilly Wimer, Chickie Samano, Nena Alcala.
Front: Gloria Krstulovic (CHILE), Linda Montemayor
Photo courtesy of Cookie Wimer
Our prez Vito, in his dogged determination to ensure that my mother would be as comfortable as possible worked his magic and got someone from the university to meet us upon our arrival. But, we never got there because upon entering Edinburg we took a wrong turn and got lost! By "we" I mean me, my mother, my cousin and three friends. Well, I finally had to give in and call my contact person. Her name is Gabi and she was incredible. She gave us directions and we still bungled it and I had to call her again. This time she told us to stay at the Pizza Hut and she would come and get us. In no time at all, she was there and she escorted us back to the university. Once there, she found us a parking space. My cousin had the good sense to bring her mother's wheelchair and we put my mother in it. From that point on, it was full steam ahead. All systems go! "Excuse me! Wheelchair coming through!", and the crowds parted like the Red Sea! And boy, was it crowded. Organizers said about 30,000 people attended the event.
Gabi got us up to the stage which was outdoors under the moon and stars, and took us all the way up to the FRONT ROW! I was in heaven! Now mind you, there was only two rows of seats which was for staff members only and it was fenced in. Everyone else had to stand for the concert. Gabi got us through that fence and took us to the front row where we saw six seats that said, "VIKKI CARR RESERVED." We sat down and were able to see an all female mariachi group called "Mariachi Femenil" and they were quite good and we enjoyed them very much. They performed for about 30 minutes.
Then Mary Falcone came on stage and started setting up and my heart started racing! By the way, I have a message for Mary: "You go, girl! You were really rocking Saturday night!" Then Vikki was announced and the music started and here comes Vikki in all her glory! Vikki started the concert with "Love Song" from "Live At the Greek" and it was awesome! I also must say that all the arrangements are incredible and the band really rocks!
Vikki is in top form. She looks great and sounds great. She sang six songs in spanish and 11 songs in english. Someone in the audience shouted out, "Ni Princesa Ni Esclava", and Vikki proceeded to sing it acappella! And, may I say, she sung it flawlessly.
This is the photo that Vikki had on stage of her parents. CARLOS & FLORENCE CARDONA
Some of the songs that Vikki sang during her 90 minute non-stop concert were "Bye Bye Blackbird", "Spanish Harlem", "A Song For You", and "America The Beautiful" (which put a lump in my throat!). Vikki told us that she was going on the road again and that we were her first audience. She also told us that she could feel the love that we were giving her and that that told her that she was on the right track. I must say that Vikki certainly had a wonderful audience. They were attentive, they knew all her songs, they were singing along with her and they clearly loved her. I felt honored and priviledged to be in this crowd and at this concert.
This was supposed to be a 60 minute concert, but you know Vikki, she went on for 90 minutes. Her adoring fans just didn't want to let her go! And who can blame them! As Vikki stated, the concert was all about love and it was very upbeat and it had my left foot tapping the whole time. Vikki sang, she danced, she chatted with us. It was a night to remember! After the concert, Gabi came to escort us back to our car. I asked her if Vikki had left, and she said that she was already in the limo. My cousin spotted the limo and she told me to "go, go, go!" When I got to it a big, burly guy was guarding it. I asked him if Vikki was in there and he said, "She is, and you're not getting near her." Well, I'm Italian on my mother's side, and that was the wrong thing to say to me. I simply went around him and waved to Vikki through the tinted windows and guess what? Vikki lowered the window! She said, "HI!" When I told Vikki that I was there with my mother, she said, "Where is she?" I said, "Back there in the wheelchair" and she said, "Oh, bring the wheelchair over here. I'm sorry that I don't get out but my feet are killing me." She then craned her head out the window and said to my mother, "Hi! How did you like the show?" When I informed Vikki that my mother is usually in bed by nine, she said, "Oh, I kept you up pretty late, I hope you liked the show." Indeed, she did! Before saying goodbye to Vikki, my cousin snapped a picture of Vikki and me. Edinburg was Vikki's FIRST STOP on her tour and I WAS THERE!
It was truly a magical evening and I must thank everyone who made this event happen for me. Vito, my cousin Chickie, Linda for driving us over there, Nena and Gloria for going with us and Sylvia and Gabi from the university who went out of their way to make us feel so special. Last but certainly not least, thank you Vikki for lowering your window and being so gracious to us. Your kindness will not be forgotten.
If this was Vikki's first stop on her tour, I can only imagine what the last stop will be like! Look out, everyone! Vikki is back and better than ever!
Cookie Wimer Brownsville, TX
Cookie Wimer and Vikki, Octoberr 2005
Linda Montemayor and Chickie Samano VSP MEMBERS
GABI SOTO AND COOKIE WIMER VSP THANKS GABI, Melissa Garza & Sylvia Aldape FOR ALL YOUR HELP AND ASSISTANCE!