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Labor of love

March 31, 2001

Tim Willert

HILLSIDE DISTRICT -- Cesar Chavez touched many lives, including that

of Mariachi Reyna de Los Angeles violinist Cindy Reifler.

In 1984, Reifler was a student at UC Santa Cruz when she performed at

a rally organized by the late labor leader, who is being honored today

outside the Burbank Public Library.

"It was memorable," Reifler recalled this week from her El Monte home.

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"It was something I'll never forget. I felt like I was a part of

history."

Reifler and the rest of Mariachi Reyna de Los Angeles will perform at

2 p.m. as part of the inaugural Cesar Chavez Birthday Celebration. The

event is co-sponsored by the library, the city of Burbank, Friends of the

Burbank Public Library and the Burbank Human Relations Council.

Today is Chavez's birthday, which is being recognized as a state

holiday for the first time. The labor leader died in his sleep on April

23, 1993.

"I think this is a wonderful opportunity to recognize the life of

Cesar Chavez and his contribution," said John Fuchs, library services

director. "It's also a good way to recognize the Latino heritage in our

community and throughout the country."

Videos and books on Chavez's life and work will be available at the

event, but the main draw will be Mariachi Reyna de Los Angeles.

The all-female mariachi group -- whose members range in age from 14 to

40 -- debuted in 1994, and is known throughout California for its lively

rhythms and intricate harmonies.

"Mariachi music is a really wonderful genre," Reifler said. "It

appeals to a large range of people, not just Latinos but people all over

the world. It's really accessible to a Western ear."

The response to the group's scheduled performance has been

overwhelming.

"We've had so many people call and say they want to come, we decided

to hold it on the grass," said Ellen Tanner, library services manager.

IF YOU GO

* WHAT: Inaugural Cesar Chavez Birthday Celebration

* WHEN: 2 p.m. Saturday

* WHERE: Burbank Public Library, 110 N. Glenoaks Blvd.

* COST: Free.

* INFO: 238-5600.

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