Taos Fiesta Council
2016 TAOS FIESTA COUNCIL MEMBERSHIP
Photo by Chuck McLaughlin of Sean Kelly Portraits – Taos, NM
Back Row (L to R): Hon. Judith 'Judi' Cantu; Bernadette Trujillo; Anna Herrera, Secretary; Hon. Evangeline ‘Vangie’ Romero; Thelma Montez; Joseph Quintana, Treasurer; Randy Baca; Wilbert Vigil (Auxiliary); Reuben Martinez; Christine Barela; Hon. Don Francisco Trujillo II, Vice-President; Front Row (L to R): Leslie Vigil; Renee Medina Lavadie; Anna Vasquez; Theresa Martinez; Sonya Romero; Kathleen Branchal, President; Sonya Vigil-Torres (Auxiliary); Elma Vigil; Not Pictured: Donna Jo Martinez; Manuel Medina; Theresa Trujillo; Auxiliary Members: Christina Rose Martinez; Roger Martinez; Durin McCash; Leandra Medina; Remedios ‘Remi’ Medina; Elizabeth Peralta; Angelica Rodrigues; Alejandro Silva; Cynthia Silva; Joey Silva; Celsa Vigil; Patrick Vigil.
Kathleen Y. Branchal
2016 President; Former Vice-President, Secretary and Taos Fiesta Princesa 1982; Member since 2007
BIOGRAPHY: Kathleen is a lifelong Taoseña and 1982 Taos Fiesta Princesa. Kathleen is the Financial Manager for the Office of the New Mexico Secretary of State. She is a Choir Director for San Francisco de Asis Church, a Mayordoma and a Confirmation Teacher. She is the mother of three daughters Sonya, Sarah and Raylyn and the proud grandma of five. Kathleen points to the fact that serving in different capacities in the community gives her a sense of pride and satisfaction. Meeting and working with different people creates lifelong friendships and is the main reason she enjoys giving of her time.
Hon. Don Francisco Trujillo II
2016 Vice-President; Former President, Vice-President and Treasurer; Executive Director and Public Relations Director; Longest serving Fiesta Council Member since 1982
BIOGRAPHY: The Honorable Don Francisco Trujillo II is a native Taoseño, a descendent of two long standing, time-honored Spanish families with deep roots documented to have settled in northern New Mexico in approximately 1563. He is employed in corporate management at Gerald A. Martin, Ltd. and serves as an elected School Board Member for the Governance Council of Tierra Encantada Charter Schools in Santa Fe, currently as Board President & Chief Executive Officer. Don Francisco previously served as New Mexico's Deputy Secretary of State and Director of the New Mexico State Bureau of Elections (2007-2010), an elected Taos County Commissioner (2003-2006), Director of Sales and Marketing for the Town of Taos, and Chairman of the Intergovernmental Council of the Enchanted Circle in northern New Mexico. He served two consecutive terms on the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Board of Directors (2005-2011): appointed Chairman of various committees, elected Board Secretary and completed his tenure as National Vice-President. He has held positions with several local, state and national boards and holds many prestigious honors, most notably: Henry Toll Fellow, Kentucky Colonel, New Mexico Colonel Aide De Camp and Guardia de Honor del Orden del Mar Oceano (Madrid, Spain). Additionally, he is Chairman of the Taos Regional Airport Board, this year celebrates his 34th year of tenure with the Taos Fiesta Council, and a single father who raised his son Christopher, a 2014 graduate of Tierra Encantada Charter High School, who is now attending college.
2016 Treasurer; Past-President; Member since 2009
BIOGRAPHY: Joseph is a lifelong Taoseno. He was the third son born to Evangeline and Carlos Herman Quintana in Albuquerque, New Mexico and resides in Taos, New Mexico. Joseph has three children Soledad and Ana-Alycia of Taos , Xavier of Washington DC. He is the proud grandfather of Zaria, and is expecting a second grandchild in January 2014. His passion is helping people, and is an Insurance Agent with the Thomas E. Gutierrez Farmers Insurance Agency. Joseph previously pioneered commercial outdoor recreation with his company Native Son Adventures until 2006, and still loves the outdoors. Fiesta’s has always been a part of Joseph’s life and he will continue to work to maintain the traditions and cultures of the Taos that he loves.
2016 Secretary; Member Since 2011
BIOGRAPHY: Anna is a native Taoseña. She was born to Erlinda and the late Ruben Herrera of Arroyo Hondo. Family is of most importance to her, she has two sons — Juan Andres and Jose Ruben Romero, daughter in law Soveida Garcia Romero and three beautiful granddaughters: Ashley, Alicia & Andrea Romero. Anna grew with two sisters and four brothers and is an active member of Holy Trinity Parish. She is employed by the US Department of Labor as a Caseworker and enjoys the outdoors, and spends all her spare time with her family. Anna joined the Fiesta Council to ensure that these centuries old traditions are passed on for future generations.
Member since 2010
BIOGRAPHY: Christine Barela is a lifelong Taoseña. She was born to Trinnie and Luis Barela of Talpa. She is the proud mother of two boys, Francisco and Mateo, that are the core of her being. She is the youngest of her sibling group, two brothers and her favorite “sissy”. She has been employed by the Children, Youth & Families Department for the past 20 years. She previously worked at Centinel Bank of Taos for 9 years. She loves to laugh and strives to live a happy life. Christine has always loved Fiestas and being part of the Fiesta Council gives her the opportunity to try to make others as happy as Fiestas make her.
Hon. Judith 'Judi' Cantu
Member since 2014
BIOGRAPHY: The Honorable Judi Cantu is a native daughter of Taos and in 2014 was elected to the Town of Taos Council. Judi is a great, great-great grand daughter of the legendary Padre Antonio Martinez. She is the daughter of the late Mayor Philip Cantu Jr. and Angie Cantu, granddaughter of Josie Montaño-Cantu and Felipe Cantu Sr. She has four children who are all members of the Jemez Pueblo: Christy Loretto-Erkins, Julie Loretto-Daw and twins, Joshua and Monique Loretto; along with four precious grandchildren: Xochitl and Jaden Archuleta, Savaante Erkins and Jaydah Martinez. Judi feels blessed to have been born in the sacred valley of Taos and is fiercely protective over what she considers to be the unique gem on God's fantastic earth. Judi explains, "My people are indigenous in themselves. Mestizo is what many people native to Taos truly are. My family has traced our roots back to Portugal, Italy and Spain. My Mother's family were Jewish and expelled from Portugal in 1496 making their way to the western hemisphere. My Father's family were Cowens out of Italy and came to this western hemisphere in the days of Oñate. My History is quite complex with many fascinating facets. I think it is so important in this 21st century with so many changes in this world that we preserve and protect, our history and culture. Assimilation in this fast moving world of technology, takes away from the celebration of life. We can’t lose who we are, so celebrating Taos Fiestas by getting together with our friends and family at this time is crucial to staying connected to our roots as life changes so quickly.
Renee Medina Lavadie
Former Taos Princesa 1987; Member since 2013
BIOGRAPHY: Renee Medina Lavadie is a native Taoseña whose documented ancestors settled in Northern New Mexico over four hundred years ago. She is extremely proud of her roots, culture, and traditions and diligently strives to maintain them, and instill their value in her own children. She loves being a mom and cherishes her family time. Cooking traditional foods, the outdoors and supporting local events is her fun time. Growing up she was an active member of 4-H for many years. Renee attended Taos Municipal Schools and graduated from the University of New Mexico. She is employed by Molina Health Care as a Care Coordinator II, which falls in line with her passion for helping people, especially those in need. Renee was previously employed by Tri County Community Services and spent 10 years with them. Renee is the daughter of Robert Medina and Quirina Cordova Medina and the eldest grandchild of Philip E. Cordova and the late Cordy Cordova of Arroyo Seco. She has a brother Felipe R. Medina and is the proud Mother of Raul, Katrina, Andrew, and Melanie Gonzales.
Donna Jo Martinez
Former Vice-President; Member since 2005
BIOGRAPHY: Donna was born and raised in northern New Mexico. She is the third child of four, married to Juan E. Martinez, mother of two sons, one daughter and step-mother of three daughters. Donna is the Human Resources Assistant at Holy Cross Hospital and is actively involved in various wellness/charitable committees within the hospital. She enjoys the outdoors and spending time with family, and friends. She feels that by being a Fiesta Council member, she and her family may give back to Taos, a community that has given so much to them.
Member since 2006
Theresa C. Martinez
Former Taos Princesa 1978; Member since 2006
BIOGRAPHY: Theresa has lived in Taos all of her life and was a Taos Fiesta Princesa in 1978. She has been married to Reuben Martinez for 34 years and they have three children, Josephine, Reuben James and Eric, and one granddaughter, the pride of their life, Christina Rose. Theresa loves Taos and the people who make it a truly special community dating back generations. Theresa's love for tradition is attributed to her parents Porfirio and Rosanita Cordova who were members of the dance group, Los Alegres. Los Alegres performed twice at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C. Their performances were recorded to preserve the historical dances that were passed to them by their ancestors. Reuben and Theresa dance those historical dances to this day as they believe in the importance of keeping those traditions alive.
Member since 1992
BIOGRAPHY: Manuel is a 20 year Board Member of Kit Carson Electric Cooperative in Taos. He and fellow council member Theresa Trujillo have a daughter, LeAndra, who was the 1992 Reina de las Fiestas de Taos. They also have two grandchildren, Durin and Bree. Manuel is self employed and runs his own business, MTM Crane Service. In addition, he and his siblings share the responsibility of running their parents company with a 50 year plus history, Robert Medina & Sons.
Former Taos Fiesta Princesa 1981; Member since 2014
BIOGRAPHY: Thelma Montez is a native Taosena, she is the mother of two sons Ronald and Jacob, and the proud Nana of Alexis, Antonio, Aubrielle, and Marcus. Thelma has been owner/stylist/nail tech at Reflections of Beauty for 28 years. She is a member of Our Lady of Guadalupe Church and, has served as mayordoma, assisted with Saint Micheal's youth group, and was part of the choir. Thelma enjoys being part of a positive group that all have a common interest, to preserve the culture and traditions of this beautiful town we call home.
Hon. Evangeline ‘Vangie’ Romero
Member since 2001
BIOGRAPHY: The Honorable Evangeline ‘Vangie’ Romero is a native Taoseña and is the former Taos County Treasurer. She is a graduate of Taos High School, a member of NALEO, the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials and a member of the Ranchos Guadalupanas for over 20 years. She became involved with the Fiesta Council, when her daughter Sonya Francesca was crowned the 2001 Reina de las Fiestas. She strongly believes that it is very important for our community to maintain our traditions, culture and heritage for future generations. Evangeline has been married to Toby Romero for 46 years and they have two children, Antonio and Sonya who are the love of her life.
Sonya F. Romero
Former Taos Fiesta Reina 2001; Member since 2001
BIOGRAPHY: Miss Sonya F. Romero is a native Taoseña. In 2001, Miss Romero was crowned La Reina de las Fiestas de Taos. Since her reign she has remained involved with the Taos Fiesta Council as the Royal Committee Vice-Chair and Royal Pageant Coordinator. Miss Romero is a 2009 graduate of the University of New Mexico. She has an Associates Degree in Liberal Arts, a Bachelors and Masters Degree in Elementary Education. She is honored and proud to be a member of this community and feels that the true beauty of Taos is in the traditions that lie within the hearts of its wonderful people.
Bernadette 'Berna' Trujillo
Member Since 2012
BIOGRAPHY: Berna is a native Taoseña, daughter of Wilfred and Rebecca Trujillo. She is the youngest of 8, 4 brothers and 3 sisters. Ms. Trujillo also has 3 children. Former Taos Fiesta Princesa Bianca Silva and 2 sons, Derek and Nicholas. She is employed at Walmart as a overnight Support Manager. She is honored to be a member of the Taos Fiesta Council. She believes that it is important to preserve and teach the next generations about our culture and traditions.
Member since 1992
BIOGRAPHY: Theresa is a native Taoseña stemming generations. She is employeed with Holy Cross Hospital and is very involved in charitable organizations that support the local hospital. Theresa and fellow council member, Manuel Medina, became officially involved with the Fiesta Council when their only daughter, LeAndra, was crowned Reina de las Fiestas in 1992. She has two grandchildren that are the joy of her life, Durin and Bree. Theresa has served on the Executive Committee of the Fiesta Council and for many years has chaired the Vendor Booth Committee.
Member since 1990
BIOGRAPHY: Elma Vigil is a native Taoseña and a graduate of Taos High School. She is married to her high school sweetheart Wilbert Vigil. They have three wonderful sons. Elma has been employed in retail most of her life. She worked at J.C. Penny’s for thirteen and a half years and has been employed at Wal-Mart for the last twenty-one and a half years. She has served as a Mayordoma at San Francisco de Asis church. Elma joined the Fiesta Council in 1990 and has served in various committees. Her family and preserving traditional values are very important to her.
Former Taos Fiesta Princesa 1992; Member since 2015
BIOGRAPHY: Leslie is a native Taoseña and a 1992 Princesa de las Fiestas de Taos. She is the proud mother of Sonya Torres, a 2014 Princesa de las Fiestas de Taos. Leslie was a St. Francis de Assis School Board Member and Committee Chair, as well as Co-chair of Taos Relay for Life. She is proud to assist in the preservation of the traditions and culture of the Taos Fiestas.
Member since 2014
BIOGRAPHY: Señor Don Roger Martinez y Mondragon’s family has been in Taos since its Spanish beginnings. Roger has been involved in culture in many aspects, from his photography, photographing Northern New Mexico in its finest adobe colors, and painting and writing cultural short stories. Even while living in Santa Fe for 20 years, Roger was fully involved in our local Fiestas of Northern New Mexico, always faithful to Taos and the feasts of Santiago and Santa Ana. He has also served as a Caballero de Vargas in Santa Fe and more recently as a Caballero de Colón where he has served as Grand Knight in Taos and currently as District Deputy, New Mexico Conferring Officer and Color Corps Commander. Continuously living culture in every aspect has brought Roger back, to be more deeply involved with our Taos Fiestas, tying our history to our future. ¡Vivan las Fiestas!
Former Taos Fiesta Reina 1992; Member since 1992
BIOGRAPHY: A native Taoseña along with her parents, Manuel Medina and Theresa Trujillo, the Fiestas de Taos continues to be the highlight of the summer for the entire family. Along with her children, Durin and Bree, and husband, Matt Gordon, they make it a family affair to volunteer with the Fiesta Council, making it a multi-generational event. “My husband is from the United Kingdom and he would not miss Fiestas. We embrace him as an honorary Taoseño. He loves our culture and the celebration that occurs with the Fiestas.” A current student working on her Doctor of Oriental Medicine, LeAndra recognizes the similarities with traditional medicine used by her grandmothers and great-grandmothers. “Our heritage is affluent in medicinal knowledge from the earth. I love that many of our native Taoseños have used herbs and curendera medicine to help our established families survive in our community. Our town is rich in education and tradition.” Involving the younger generation and teaching them the ways of our ancestors is key to continuing the traditions. She has helped in all aspects of the Fiestas, from announcing stage performances to currently helping her parents with the booth vendors, volunteering in all aspects to help the Fiestas de Taos stay successful.
Remedios ‘Remi’ Medina
Former Taos Fiesta Princesa 2010; Member since 2010
BIOGRAPHY: Miss Remedios 'Remi' Medina was raised in a traditional Hispanic household with her younger brother, whose parents taught them the value of hard work and respect. She is a 2011 Taos High School Graduate and was honored to have represented her community and culture as La Princesa de Las Fiestas de Taos in 2010. Miss Medina is currently attending the University of New Mexico and has joined the U.S. Air Force ROTC aspiring to earn the highest U.S. Air Force rank she can obtain. She has a huge heart with a strong desire to help others and preserve the community she loves so much.
Former President; Member since 1980
BIOGRAPHY: Elizabeth ‘Liz’ Peralta has served in almost every position during her 28 year tenure as a Taos Fiesta Council member. She enjoys volunteering at Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish and fishing with her husband of 45 years, Alfred Peralta. They have been blessed with two children and six grandchildren and enjoy spending time with them all.
Angelica E. Rodrigues
Former Taos Fiesta Reina 2013; Member since 2015
BIOGRAPHY: Angelica Rodrigues is a native Taoseña. She is the daughter of Renell Romero and Lorenzo Rodrigues. Angelica devotes her time to her education, her family, and her dreams. She is a Taos High School graduate and currently attending UNM, where she strives to earn her Bachelor’s in Education so she can teach and help lead our future minds on to grander things. When she is not studying she enjoys archery, being outdoors, and volunteering her time to those who need her. Angelica was introduced to the Taos Fiesta Court and Council in 2013 and honored to serve as La Reina de las Fiestas de Taos 2013. She enjoyed it so much that she wanted to help continue the lovely traditions of Fiestas by becoming a member of the Taos Fiesta Council Inc. She hopes to inspire our younger generations to be a part of our historical traditions in order to help preserve them for years to come.
Member Since 2014
BIOGRAPHY: Alejandro Vicente Silva is currently a senior at Taos High School. His parents are Joey and Cynthia Silva of El Prado, New Mexico who also serve on the Taos Fiesta Council. He has three older sisters: Daniel Sisneros-Silva, Gabriela Silva and Sofia Silva. Alejandro has participated in sports such as wrestling, baseball and youth football since kindergarten. More recently he has been learning to develop his musical skills in choir and mariachi. Under the direction of Mr. Norbert Martinez, Alejandro plays trumpet and sings in the Mariachi El Tigre and won the Youth Song of the Year Award in 2014 at the New Mexico Hispano Music Awards this past January. He is also enjoying performing with The Hums Barber Shop Quartet directed by Mr. Ryan Allais. Alejandro served as the Official Driver for the Royal Court Float in 2014 for all Fiesta Parades and the New Mexico State Fair, as well as assembling and disassembling the float. He is ready for future Fiesta Activities.
Member Since 2014
BIOGRAPHY: Cynthia Gallegos-Silva was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. In the summer of 1988, she graduated with a degree in Dental Hygiene from the University of New Mexico, married Joey Silva and moved to Taos. Together they have raised their four children, Daniela, Gabriela, Sofia and Alejandro. Currently Sofia serves as a Princesa on the 2014 Taos Royal Court. Participating in the Fiesta events over the past year has given Cynthia a new appreciation for the traditions and history of the Indigenous and Hispanic cultures of Taos. Cynthia has worked with Dr. Kelly A. Harris and her wonderful team for 16 years and has known some of her patients for 26 years. In her free time she loves to spend time with her family, which now includes her son-in-law, Joshua Sisneros and grandson, Darren Sisneros. She also loves to read, listen to music and dance. Cynthia has served as a Mayordoma at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church since 2009. She is looking forward to serving on the Taos Fiesta Council again this year and for many more to come. ¡Que Vivan Las Fiestas!
Member since 2014
BIOGRAPHY: Joey is a life long Taoseño, having grown up in El Prado, New Mexico. Joey is proud of his family roots of Northern New Mexico that date back centuries and include both Spanish and Native American ancestry. Joey is honored to serve God and the Catholic faith. He is a Mayordomo at our Lady of Guadalupe church and a member to the Adoration, Community, Theology, Service (ACTS) community. Joey, a Licensed Independent Social Worker, dedicates himself in working with at risk youth in the Taos area. He is a United Stated Navy Veteran and is proud of having served his country, following the footsteps of his father who was also a Navy Veteran. Joey married the love of his life, Cynthia R. Silva and together they have four children, Daniela, Gabriela, Sofia, and Alejandro. Joey gained an appreciation for the tireless work that the Fiesta Council performs having witnessed, first hand, during the 2014-2015 Fiesta Court, when his youngest Sofia became a Princesa. For this reason, Joey, Cynthia, and Alejandro volunteered to give back to this noble cultural event. Que Vivan Las Fiestas de Taos!
Former Secretary; Member since 2008
BIOGRAPHY: Celsa Vigil is a native northern New Mexican, who moved back to her family’s historical home site on the Ranchos Plaza four years after graduating from Eastern New Mexico University with a double major in Microbiology and Spanish. Celsa is currently employed as a Lab Analyst through the Town of Taos Wastewater Treatment Plant operated by CH2M HILL OMI. She is the daughter of Gilbert & Eileen Gallegos, sister of Claire Gallegos, aunt of Lilliana Gallegos, and married to fellow Fiesta Council Member Patrick Vigil. She joined the Taos Fiesta Council in an effort to help preserve our culture and heritage, which has been instilled in her through keen understanding and sense of heritage.
Member since 2008
BIOGRAPHY: Patrick Vigil is a native Taoseño with families who have resided in the Taos Valley since the first Spanish settled the area. His roots stem from two strong bar prospector families: Vigil and Trujillo. He recently retired, after 28½ years from the Town of Taos where he served as Public Utilities Director. Patrick is the son of the late Edmundo Vigil and Aurora T. Vigil. He is the fourth of six children: Carla Castle, Francisco Vigil, Antonio Vigil, Lourdes Martinez and Jose Benito “Joey” Vigil (deceased). He is married to fellow Fiesta Council Member Celsa Gallegos-Vigil. He joined the Fiesta Council to give back to his beloved community and help preserve its roots.