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Obituaries in the News

May 5, 2006

Rosita Fernandez

SAN ANTONIO (AP) _ Singer Rosita Fernandez, an important contributor to the Texas-border musical genre of Tejano, died Tuesday. She was 88.

Her death was confirmed by the Porter Loring Mortuaries in San Antonio.

Fernandez veered toward ``canciones romanticas,″ songs that were often accompanied by sophisticated orchestral arrangements. She also specialized in boleros, an Afro-Hispanic genre with a slow, smooth delivery and a more urban rhythm, said California-based ethnomusicologist Manuel Pena.

She sang for generations of San Antonians at the Arneson River Theater. A bridge was named for her there, which she said was symbolic of her work being a bridge between Mexico and the United States.

Deborah Vargas, assistant professor of Chicano Latino Studies at the University of California, Irvine, said Fernandez also ventured fearlessly into radio, television and film, and appeared with John Wayne in ``The Alamo.″

During more than 60 years of entertaining, she sang for Pope John Paul II, Prince Charles and U.S. presidents including Lyndon B. Johnson and Jimmy Carter. Lady Bird Johnson dubbed her ``San Antonio’s First Lady of Song.″

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