Staff Report December 18, 2017Local NewsComments Off on Khalid’s Mom, Sister Surprise Serna Students with Christmas Gifts
Khalid knew the “Location” of his mother, Linda Wolfe, and sister, Regina Wolfe, last week. While the Americas High School graduate and Grammy nominee was in Los Angeles working, his mom and sister stood in for the 19-year-old singing sensation at Ernesto Serna School, giving away more than 100 wrapped toys to students.
The duo talked, danced and sang to Khalid’s music and laughed with the children, most who were in Pre-K, kindergarten and functional living skills classes. Santa Claus, who sat near the Christmas tree, also was there to celebrate with the students.
“Khalid is passionate about giving back,” Linda Wolfe said. “There are so many less fortunate kids out there and we talked as a family about doing something for Christmas. Regina mentioned coming to Ernesto Serna School. She has been here helping to give away backpacks and school supplies. She knew the needs of the students.”
The Ernesto Serna Wolves were ecstatic with their gifts, ripping the wrapping paper and giggling, oohing, aaaahing and yelling when they discovered what the presents were. There were puzzles, Hot Wheels, Barbie dolls, little girl makeup kits, and, even, unusual lunch pails.
“They really surprised us,” said Principal Alejandro Olvera. “We were doing a toy drive with NJHS (National Junior Honor Society) students. … NJHS had collected about 50 presents, so we were going to do a small event. We were so surprised and happy that we were able to help more kids. We are very blessed, humbled and thankful for Khalid and his family and their generosity.”
Besides Serna, the Wolfe family gave gifts away at two other schools in El Paso this week. They appreciate how the city has embraced them since moving here more than two years ago, Linda Wolfe said. She is especially grateful for what Team SISD has done for her children.
“This is the reason we are staying in El Paso,” she said. “We love the programs the district offers. Education is key in my family. My daughter is a good student. Khalid had a great experience at Americas and Regina is enjoying the same. The Americas High School community treats them like family.”
Regina Wolfe wouldn’t go to any other high school but Americas, she said. The sophomore, who plays basketball for the school, has so many close friends who are like family to her. She has been an instrumental part of the community service projects in which the Americas girls basketball team has donated items such as backpacks and school supplies to Ernesto Serna School
“I love my school,” Regina said. “Everyone makes me feel like I belong.”
Khalid, who graduated in May 2016 from Americas, has gained widespread fame in the last year, earning music awards, performing in concerts worldwide and receiving top recognition for his album “American Teen.” His songs have moved up the music charts. Several are in the top 10. His first single, “Location” is now certified platinum. Other popular songs include “Young, Dumb and Broke” and “Saved.” He recently was nominated for five Grammy awards.
Edgar Collazo, 11, and Michael Gonzalez, 10, know who Khalid is and sang along to “Location” as it played in the school library during the gift giveaway. They were both excited to receive their presents.
“He is a good guy,” said Michael, 10. “He gave all of us presents. I am so thankful.
His classmate, Edgar agreed.
“I really appreciate this special gift,” Edgar said. “I just can’t believe Khalid gave it to me. That is so great. I am so happy he thought about students like us. He’s a great man.”
Guest Columnist December 11, 2017NewsComments Off on Video+Story: El Paso’s Own Khalid Surprises Crockett Students, Delivers Presents
Singer and El Paso-favorite artist Khalid had a special “Location” this Monday Morning: Crockett Elementary School.
The Grammy-nominated artist took time from his busy schedule to stop by the school and hand-deliver more than 500 gifts — one for every student at Crockett.
“It means the world to me to come back to El Paso and give out gifts to the kids because with everything that I’ve done, with every award, I’ve always thanked El Paso,” he said. “I feel like this is definitely a home for me so to see the smiles on all the kids’ faces when I gave them all the gifts is something I will carry with me wherever I go.”
The visit was a surprise to the students, who were told to gather in the historic auditorium of the school for a special guest. When Principal Elco Ramos asked them to guess who it was, the excited students chanted: Santa!
The chants turned to shrieks of excitement as the crowd recognized the “American Teen” artist when the curtains of the stage were drawn to reveal him.
“You can see the humility in him and the love and wanting to give back to the community, Ramos said. “Our kids were very excited to see him, and we are truly appreciative what he’s done for our school.”
Linda Wolfe, Khalid’s mother, organized the event after calling around looking for the perfect school. She said Crockett’s student body is what her son liked the best.
“Ms. Wolfe reached out to me after Thanksgiving break. I wasn’t expecting that call,” counselor Beatrice Garza said. “It was really hard to keep it a surprise. There was just five of us that knew. We tried to honor his mother’s wishes because they really wanted it to be more about the kids, not about him.”
The students certainly were surprised and excited.
Fifth-grader America Martinez was overcome with tears when she saw him on stage.
“I was so surprised. It was really exciting to meet him,” she said between sobs. “I think it’s really nice that he came out to see us.”
Khalid’s fame and pop-culture impact was not lost among the students – especially the older ones. A group of fourth-graders sang his hit “Location” while they waited in line to receive a gift from him.
“It says a lot that the kids know who I am because it means the parents are the ones playing the music for the kids, which is super awesome,” Khalid said.
Fifth-grade student Anissa Nevarez couldn’t believe her eyes.
“I was thinking like ‘oh my gosh.’ I can’t believe I am in the same room as him. I never really thought I would meet someone famous,” she said. “I was really excited because he is an inspiration to me because someone from such a small town can have such a big impact on the world.”
Meeting him reaffirmed her admiration for him, not only as a singer but as a person.
“He’s very down to Earth. He’s very nice,” Anissa said. “I can’t believe he came and bought us all the presents and gave them to us by hand. I never thought anyone would go that far to make an entire school happy.”
Khalid was all smiles, greeting every single student and even stopping to pose for a couple photos.
“I love the fact that everybody was super thankful,” he said. “This is definitely the first of many. I am so glad I am able to help out El Paso.”
Story/ photos by Alicia Chumley – Video by Raymond Jackson/EPISD
Staff Report February 28, 2017NewsComments Off on Lineup, New Ticket Options Announced for 7th Annual Neon Desert Music Festival
Neon Desert Music Festival Organizers announced the full music lineup for the seventh annual event Tuesday Morning, which is slated to return to downtown El Paso on Memorial Day weekend, May 27 and 28.
Neon Desert is also pleased to announce a new multi-year partnership with Southwest University. Southwest University will be the presenting sponsor of Neon Desert, and is excited to help enhance the festival experience for the fans.
Taking place over 15 city blocks in the heart of downtown El Paso, and encompassing two city parks – Cleveland Square Park and San Jacinto Plaza – Neon Desert Music Festival will proudly welcome headlining performances from EDM heavyweight and one of the most in demand DJ’s in the world, Hardwell.
Hardwell’s high-energy performance is sure to keep the party going all weekend long, along with the Grammy-nominated indie pop band Foster the People, who are currently working on the highly anticipated follow up to their critically-acclaimed 2014 album, Supermodel.
Additional 2017 headliners include Colombian R&B singer J Balvin, whose single “Ginza” off of his 2016 album, Energía, broke the record for most views of any Latin music video in the first 24 hours; and internationally renowned DJ and producer, Alesso, who has been heralded as the forerunner of the next generation of house music; as well as rapper/producer and self described “Young Sinatra,” Logic, who will bring his signature brand of introspective, thoughtful rap to the weekend-long bash.
Some of the biggest hip-hop artists in the country will also be onsite throughout Memorial Day weekend, including Migos, whose sophomore album,
Culture, recently topped the Billboard 200 for several weeks and was boosted in large part by the smash hit “Bad and Boujee.” One of today’s most exciting breakout hip-hop artists, Lil Uzi Vert, whose recent collaboration on Migo’s hit single “Bad and Boujee” resulted in his first number one single this January on the US Billboard Hot 100, is also set to perform; as is Grammy-winner and rapper Nelly.
Additional music performers include Texas-based electro-funk duo Ghostland Observatory; electronic producer and creator of the smash hit “Harlem Shake”, Baauer; tropical-house DJ Thomas Jack; genre-bending DJ Mija; and more than 30 other talented acts, including a variety of local music performers like El Paso’s own rising R&B sensation Khalid.
Neon Desert is truly unique in that it not only showcases national headlining hip-hop, EDM, and indie talent, but it also plays a real tribute to the Latin heritage of the host town El Paso and its diverse residents.
For the 2017 event, the festival will welcome a variety of Latin and Mexican music performers from across the globe, including Chilean singer-songwriter Mon Laferte; Venezuelan-based disco-funk band Los Amigos Invisibles; Mexican rockers DLD; five-piece indie pop band and recent nominee for Best New Artist at the Latin Grammys 2016 The Chamanas, who hail from Mexico; and more.
Migos / Ghostland Observatory / Nelly / Lil Uzi Vert / Mon Laferte
Baauer / Thomas Jack / Khalid / Mija / Los Amigos Invisibles
DLD / Porter / Ty Segall / Marc E. Bassy / Snow Tha Product / Trae Tha Truth
The Chamanas / Tennyson / Medasin / Michael Christmas / Bogan Via
Frontera Bugalú / J^HIR / Sorrytown / Stan Z / Ribo Flavin / Rare Individuals
The Other Half / Kilo and the Dew / Our Friend The Mountain / Miijas / Acid Pie
Dayluta Means Kindness / Yung Jung / Eddy Boy / Trost House / Frythm / Mikey Cloud
Polaroids / If We Were Turtles / Flamél / Volta / Rose.Golden / Brandon Bailey Johnson
*Denotes music festival headliners
Weekend passes now on sale at www.neondesertmusicfestival.com. Passes to the two-day event are only $119 while J&K VIP passes cost just $250. J&K VIP ticket holders will receive a variety of perks including re-entry to the festival, a dedicated VIP-only entrance and exit, complimentary drinks throughout the entirety of the festival, as well as complimentary dinner daily at 6 p.m.
Neon Desert is also excited to announce the debut of the festival’s newest ticket option, J&K Platinum VIP passes, which are available now for just $550. These Platinum VIP tickets offer attendees the most elevated experience available to ticket buyers.
These lucky attendees will be offered all of the regular VIP perks, in addition to exclusive access to a main stage viewing deck, complimentary drinks and meals throughout each day of the festival, and more. Interested patrons are encouraged to act fast in purchasing J&K Platinum VIP passes, as supply is very limited.
The seventh annual Neon Desert will once again offer an eclectic mix of mainstream American performers alongside acclaimed international acts at this year’s event.
Over the past six years, Neon Desert has hosted over 130,000 attendees, as well as a variety of internationally-renowned talent, with the likes of Tiësto, Future, J. Cole, Kaskade, Daddy Yankee, Passion Pit, Zoé, Ximena Sariñana, Mala Rodríquez, G-Eazy, Zedd, Wiz Khalifa, MGMT, and Moby having previously played at the festival.
Neon Desert looks to make this year’s event better than ever with a wide variety of incredible music acts set to perform over three stages, along with a silent disco stage, multiple live art installations, and numerous local food vendors and merchants.
Neon Desert would like to thank their 2017 partners, including presenting sponsor Southwest University as well as the additional partners who help make the festival possible including Dos Equis, Whataburger, Malibu Rum, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Red Bull, Jim Beam, J&K, Electric Sky Wine, Hunt Companies, and El Paso’s Museum and Cultural Affairs Division (MCAD).