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Press Release

Ervin Lucero Named Richard T. Castro Distinguished Visiting Professor

Professorship celebrates 18th year, themed “Musica Mezclada: Jamming on the Borderlands”

Contact: Tim Carroll, Office 303-556-5136, Cell 303-870-7705

Posted: September 7, 2015

DENVER– Ervin Lucero, celebrated musician and band leader, has been named Metropolitan State University of Denver’s 2015 Richard T. Castro Distinguished Visiting Professor.  

This year’s professorship, Sept. 21- 22, continues an 18-year history of bringing renowned Latino and Latina scholars, artists and community leaders to the University. Lucero will present lectures and perform with his band, the Mood Express, during this year’s program themed: “Musica Mezclada: Jamming on the Borderlands.”

Lucero utilizes music as a means of expressing the activism and awareness emerging among Chicanos during the period of the Chicano civil rights movement and continues to this day.  His work exemplifies the tradition of the multi-generational family band, The Mood Express, which started 30 years ago with his father Ray Lucero as the former lead singer. Both Ray and the Mood Express have been honored by their induction to the Chicano Music Hall of Fame.

Both father and son have preserved the musical traditions of the “orquestra” and have chosen to celebrate their Mexican roots through the musical expression that mixes corridos, rancheras, vals and cumbias. These are all styles popular in New Mexico and Colorado in their band’s performances. This has earned The Mood Express the reputation as Colorado’s “Chicano Big Band.”  With Ervin as their leader and vocalist the band has opened for renowned acts such as Tito Puente and Gloria Estefan.

Lucero’s work complements the Castro Professorship mission and commitment to diversity and social activism. Dedicated to Colorado’s tradition of activism through the arts, Lucero is an advocate for the Chicano community, which is evident in his band’s recording, “El Gigante Despierta.” An original composition that speaks to the emerging consciousness and political power of the Latino community.

Founded in 1997 to foster multiculturalism, diversity and academic excellence at the University, the professorship honors civil rights activist and MSU Denver graduate and instructor Richard T. Castro, who served five terms in Colorado’s House of Representatives. For more information on Castro’s legacy and Lucero, visit 

Free community events open to the public include:  

Mon., Sept. 21

Welcome Reception 5:30– 7:30 p.m.

Music by Dr. Lorenzo Trujillo and The Southwest Musicians

R.T. Castro Exhibition on Colorado’s State Legislators

Casa Mayan (1020 9th Street, Denver, CO 80204)


Tue., Sept. 22

Latino Welcome 9:30-10:45 a.m.

St. Cajetan’s Event Center, Auraria Campus

Keynote Address 11:10 a.m. – 12:20 p.m.

Ervin Lucero lecture and presentation on music on the borderlands
St. Cajetan’s Event Center, Auraria Campus

Luncheon and Entertainment 12:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.

St. Cajetan’s Event Center, Auraria Campus

Celebration and Dance 6 - 9 p.m.

Ervin Lucero and The Mood Express for an evening of dancing

Tivoli Turnhalle, Auraria Campus


All events are free but seating is limited. For more information and to RSVP visit or contact Mercedes Salazar at 303-556-3124,


About Metropolitan State University of Denver

For 50 years Metropolitan State University of Denver has transformed the lives of students, served as a courageous leader in higher education and boldly advanced the well-being of metro Denver communities. Throughout its history, the University has been known as a gateway to opportunity through broad access, quality academics and education relevant to the Colorado economy. The yearlong MSU Denver anniversary celebration commemorates the creation in 1965 by the Colorado General Assembly of the state’s first urban higher education institution.

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