En Español Por Favor

En Español Por Favor - Photo by Krysten Casias

Last night the Erwin Center was filled with traditional Mexican music and culture when Luis Miguel took the stage. His songs ranged from soft and romantic to bold and feisty. No matter the song choice, the crowd enjoyed a full night of Luis Miguel hits sung in his native Spanish. What many people do not know is that the Frank Erwin Center (ERC) staff had to adjust to the Spanish language long before “El Sol” de Mexico even entered the building.

The story goes like this: what happens when a promoter speaks Spanish, and your staff does not? Never fear…the translator is here! My name is Luis Hernandez and I have been working in the administration office at the Erwin Center for about 12 years. I do not normally have any association with event operations or planning at the venue. In fact, the only contact I have with a show is distributing or collecting flyers, tickets, banners and wire transfers that pass through my hands onto others.

About three weeks ago, I was asked to sit in an operations meeting to translate for Luis Miguel’s promoter and the ERC staff. The meeting took me back to when I was in grade school and had to translate for my mom during parent-teacher conferences. But back in those days, I felt each sentence I translated was another nail in my coffin. However, this time was much different since I was not being condemned as I translated, but instead helping both parties. Thanks to my superb translating skills, I was asked to attend the show as a working staff member in case my assistance was needed again. I have never worked a show before, so I was thrilled about the opportunity and looked forward to experiencing all the action that occurs in back of the house.

On the day of the show, I went with Tara Vela, the assistant marketing manager at ERC, to meet with the promoter for Luis Miguel and go over the advertising packet. It contains all the documents detailing how the venue utilized media to promote the show. Soon after that, Thom Ramirez, the box office manager, and I met with the promoter and went over the event settlement report that broke down the expenses of the show from how many tickets were sold to production costs, technical support, staff and catering.

After a long day at work, I was ready to enjoy the concert. During my tenure at the Erwin Center, I’ve learned that a lot of planning, contract meetings and paperwork are involved when putting on a show, but experiencing it first-hand was very interesting. The ecstatic crowd, the glow of thousands of cameras and the sound of the audience singing along was all worth it. The part that I enjoyed the most was when the mariachi took the stage and the crowd went wild. It was unbelievable; a mariachi group on stage at the Erwin Center surely was a proud moment.

-Luis Hernandez

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