A Rose by Any Other Name
Ranking cabinet member of the Latino scene Rose Reyes
There's no shortage of praise for Rose Reyes. Her spirit, ideas, generosity, impeccable taste, and always – always – fabulous shoes are only a few things local musicians cite about her.
"Rose is like the secretary of state for Austin music," says Rich Garza, producer of Austin's Pachanga Latino Music Festival. "She's the perfect ambassador for Austin's incredibly diverse artistic community."
As director of music marketing for the Austin Convention & Visitors Bureau, Reyes' mission is cut and dry: Bring conferences to the Convention Center, which in turn fills local hotels, and promote the city to visitors and tourists. A lifelong music lover and longtime advocate, Reyes doesn't need a windblown sales pitch.
"Musicians move to Nash-ville if they want to be a star. In Austin, they're here because they want to be an artist in an artistic community," she says. "What are our attractions? We're not San Diego, Miami, Orlando, or Las Vegas, but in Austin, truly, you can go to five or six venues in one night, any day of the week, to see live music – and not just one kind of music. The diversity of music here is what makes us unique, what makes musicians create here.
"There are new discoveries to be made all the time."
A native of Edinburg, Texas, Reyes arrived locally in 1984 to work for the Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and later the Texas Department of Commerce, before landing at Texas Folklife. The Austin-based nonprofit is where Reyes found her true calling, working with roots music masters across the state and producing events celebrating Texas' rich musical heritage.
"I bet I know every accordionist across the state," she chuckles.
On the side, she was managing then-Austin-based singer-songwriter Tish Hinojosa and helping drive a variety of arts projects either as a board member or through consulting. One of Reyes' pet projects at the Austin Convention & Visitors Bureau is producing a compilation CD featuring Austin music, which became a "heavenly" endeavor when the most recent disc became The Sound Is Brown for Latino Music Month.
"The Latin scenes here in Austin are thriving like never before," says Michael Ramos of Charanga Cakewalk. "I've come to realize, like many others I'm sure, that a huge driving force behind this renaissance is Rose."
Reyes would demur, citing former Council Member Raul Alvarez and the Austin Latino Music Association for spearheading Latino Music Month. Yet, with 20 years' experience and contacts with nearly every venue and any Latino-infused event in town, she might lose that argument. And frankly, there's no time. Why fight when there's so much good music to break in a new pair of dancing shoes to?