Members of lost Kansas Mariachi Band remembered 40 years after Hyatt Regency tragedy

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TOPEKA, Kan. — Family members and friends gathered Friday morning on the eve of the 40th anniversary of the 1981 Hyatt Regency tragedy to honor the trailblazing Mariachi Estrella De Topeka band at the Mariachi Divina statue located at Topeka Performing Arts Center.

“We are here to remember the four Mariachi members, Connie Alcala, Dolores Carmona, Linda Rokey Scurlock and Dolores Galvan. All who left us too early. Today it’s not about how they died, rather it is how they lived, it’s about the lives and stories they continue to inspire,” said David Chavez, nephew of Connie Alcala. Chavez was instrumental in leading the effort to construct the commemorative statue Mariachi Divina, erected in 2006.

Mariachi Estrella de Topeka, the all-female mariachi musicians began as a church choir at Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish. The all-female group gained notoriety with its repertoire of traditional Mexican music.

In July of 1981, four members of the Topeka group, Connie Alcala; Dolores Carmona, Linda Rokey Scurlock and Dolores Galvan were killed in the Hyatt skywalk collapse disaster in Kansas City, Missouri. Survivors of the group include Teresa Cuevas, Rachel Galvan and Bolie Gonzalez.

Mariachi Estrella de Topeka members Rachel Galvan and Isabel Gonzalez were in attendance as well as Andrea Clark, sister of Linda Rokey Scurlock; David Chavez, Mariachi Divina statue creator and nephew of Connie Alcala, Ediberto Gonzalez, brother to Dolores Carmona; Father Ramon Gaitan, former Pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish; Carlos Chavez, brother of Connie Alcala, and Michelle Cuevas, granddaughter of Teresa Cuevas.

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