Kansas City, MO – This morning (Monday, July 17), Topeka unveils a new bronze statue in front of its performing arts center, just down the street from the Kansas Statehouse. The statue commemorates seven Topeka women who formed Mariachi Estrella, one of the country's first all-female groups in 1980. A year later, four members of that group died when the two skywalks collapsed at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Kansas City. Today (Monday, July 17) marks the 25-year anniversary of that disaster. On Thursday, the three surviving women played Mariachi together at Topeka's Fiesta Mexicana, for the first time in 20 years. KCUR's Sylvia Maria Gross reports.
Band members Dolores Galvan, Connie "Chae" Alcala, Dolores Carmona and Linda Rokey Scurlock lost their lives in the accident.
1981 recordings of Mariachi Estrella are courtesy of KTWU, Topeka's public TV station.
At left, Rachel Sangalang, Teresa Cuevas and Isabel Gonzalez. And Rachel Sangalang sings Amor Eterno at Topeka's Fiesta Mexicana.