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July 2024

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Photo by Dr. Jaelyn de Maria Cast members bring song, drama, and humor to Los Pastores, the centuries-old Spanish-language play about the shepherds who journeyed to find Mary, Joseph, and the Niño Jesús

Taos County Historical Society Christmas Luncheon and Silent Auction, with Dr. Theresa Córdova

LOS PASTORES: A centuries-old Spanish-language play about the shepherds who journeyed to find Mary, Joseph, and the Niño Jesús

The Taos County Historical Society will hold its annual Christmas luncheon and silent auction, launching its members and guests from throughout the county into the Christmas season. The event will take place on Sunday, December 3, at noon, at the Sagebrush Inn in Taos.

Los Pastores is the subject of this year̕s luncheon program, a wonderfully appropriate topic for Christmas time in northern New Mexico. Dr. Theresa Córdova, the founder, director, and curator of Las Pistoleras Instituto Cultural de Arte in El Prado, will speak on Los Pastores and her devotion to the preservation and recovery of the history, traditions, and culture of northern New Mexico and southern Colorado.
The title of Dr. Córdova̕s program is “Sangre de Cristo Liturgies Rendition of Los Pastores: Forty-Two Years of Communal and Cultural Resilience.”

Los Pastores is one of many Spanish-language religious plays with roots in the Middle Ages. The Spanish brought them to Mexico and then to Nuevo México in the earliest years of the conquest, to entertain and teach the Catholic faith. Scripts were often written out — the International Folk Art Museum in Santa Fe has over 42 versions of Los Pastores on file — but at their core, the plays have always been part of oral folk tradition, very much alive and thus open to change. Music is central to the plays, with songs both old and new, as the spirit moves.

In 1980, Córdova’s father, the late and beloved Arsenio Córdova, along with about 14 other Arroyo Seco residents, presented the first Los Pastores seen in the Taos area since about 1928. Arsenio, his then wife Dr. Kathryn Córdova, and now Theresa, have directed the Los Pastores pageants every year since, in several northern New Mexico churches and beyond.

Dr. Córdova̕s presentation on December 3 will include music, many photos, and as a special treat, a screening of the 1997 PBS documentary “Los Pastores: The Shepherd’s Play,”which was broadcast at Christmas on public television stations around the country, and also premiered at the Taos Film Festival in 1998. Filmed in part in the 1770 San José de Gracias Church in Las Trampas and directed by Arsenio and Larry Torres, the documentary also shows the 28 actors, musicians, and support crew as they travel in a yellow school bus to bring their production to churches across Taos County.

Dec. 3 at noon at Sagebrush Inn. Tickets for the Christmas luncheon and silent auction are $40 for TCHS members, and $45 for non-members. To purchase tickets, email Donovan Lieurance at tchsmembership750@gmail.com or call Ernestina Córdova at (575) 770-0681. For further information call Michael Wilson at (612) 743-6546.