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Community celebrates musician Joe Serrano, Mr. San Ysidro

By Pablo J. Sáinz

SerranoA celebration that will recognize one of the most beloved musicians in San Ysidro will be like a trip to the recent past of this small border community.

The Homenaje a Joe Serrano, which will be on Saturday June 27th, from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the San Ysidro Community Activity Center, will highlight the contributions Norteño musician Joe Serrano has made throughout the years to San Ysidro.

In the 70s and 80s, Serrano used to organize the Mexican Independence Day celebrations each September in San Ysidro. Back then, he said, the fiesta was big, with all the community participating in the event, which included live music and a parade.

At the time, Serrano was leader of El Combo Latino, a music group that recorded several songs in honor of the homeland, such as Mi pueblito San Ysidro, something that earned him the title of Mr. San Ysidro.

“Joe was very active in the community, he used to participate in everything,” remembered José Barrón, organizer of the event in honor of Serrano and who for many years was director of the San Ysidro Rec Center. “Joe donated his time to help in community events. He was ready to cooperate in everything.”

The celebration on Saturday will also serve to commemorate Serrano’s 51 years in music, the last 20 with his group Rayo Norteño, and 71 years of age.

For Serrano, this community recognition is like reliving that era when he lived in San Ysidro.

“It is great for a musician to get this, it is something one doesn’t expect,” he said. “I have a lot of love for San Ysidro, since I lived there for more than 20 years. Everyone knew me back then, because I was in every event.”

Barron said Serrano was in charge of music during community events in San Ysidro.

So June 27th will be named Joe Serrano Day by several elected officials, like County Supervisor Greg Cox.

“Joe Serrano’s service to the San Ysidro community has extended for approximately 21 years and to this date, he continues to maintain close ties with the community”, reads the proclamation Cox will present that day. “The County of San Diego is committed to recognizing and honoring those individuals who bring great distinction to the region and Joe Serrano is one such worthy individual.”

San Diego District 8 Councilmember, David Alvarez, said he was pleased to declare June 27th as Joe Serrano Day.

“Joe Serrano enhanced the neighborhood’s recreation programs and events by volunteering his time and services,” Alvarez said.

During the celebration several bands will perform, including Serrano’s own Rayo Norteño, and Don Julián Briano, Angeles y Demonios, and Viento Negro.

Refreshments will be served, and many residents from old San Ysidro will attend, including those who have lived here for generations.

Serrano said that each time he would get involved in every event because he loves the community of San Ysidro.

“I’m a person who lived in San Ysidro and I always wanted to improve the community to help others,” he said. “I’m very proud to have been able to help all the time.”

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