Alonzo y Sus Rancheros Sheet Music

225 Items
Last Updated: 2021-03-04

The Alonzo y Sus Rancheros Sheet Music digital collection contains handwritten and printed sheet music owned by Ventura Alonzo and her husband Frank, most likely from the 1930s to the 1950s.

Ventura Martínez Alonzo was born on December 30, 1904 in Matamoros, Mexico. In 1909 her family moved to Brownsville, Texas, later relocating to Kingsville and eventually Houston’s Magnolia Park. At the age of twelve Ventura learned to play the piano under the guidance of her father, establishing the foundation from which her later musical career would flourish. Ventura later met Frank Alonzo, originally from San Antonio and a self-taught guitarist, whom she married in 1931.

Together, Ventura and Frank formed the musical group Alonzo y Sus Rancheros in 1938. With Frank the leader and bajo sexton, Ventura was the vocalist, pianist, and accordionist. Alonzo y Sus Rancheros went on to record on labels like Falcon Records, Alameda, Rio, Broadway, and Ideal. Despite their extensive repertoire, including boleros, cumbias, waltzes and mambos, Alonzo y Sus Rancheros were primarily known for their música ranchera. Música ranchera can best be described as Mexican American country with a western sound. Post-World War II, the band changed their name to Alonzo y su Orquesta and started to incorporate elements of big band music into their sound.

Not only did Ventura forge her own path as a successful female musician in a traditionally-male dominated musical scene, but she was the first Tejana accordionist to be recorded. She also proved herself as a businesswoman through her management of La Terraza, one of the few ballrooms in Houston that catered to Mexican Americans.

The original materials are available in UH Libraries' Special Collections in the Frank and Ventura Alonzo (Alonzo y Sus Rancheros) Papers.

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