The NFL's Arizona Cardinals will celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month during their televised game on Sunday afternoon with the help of a University of Arizona employee and a troupe of musicians and dancers.
Patsy Klein, who for the last four years has coordinated the UA Hispanic Heritage Halftime Show, will present the music and dance of 120 students including members of the UA mariachi group, Mariachi Arizona, and the UA Folkloric traditional dance group, Grupo Folklorico Miztontli.
Klein is a 30-year UA employee who dedicates her free time to teaching traditional dance and lending support to mariachi students in K-12, as well as to UA students. She currently is an administrative assistant in the UA department of psychiatry.
The Arizona Athletics-sponsored Hispanic Heritage Day Halftime Show on Sept. 12 caught the eye of an Arizona Cardinal representative who extended an invitation to Klein to create a similar performance on Sunday.
The Cardinals were looking to find a way to commemorate during Hispanic Heritage Month the generations of Hispanic Americans who have positively influenced and enriched the nation.
America celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month from Sept. 15 through Oct. 15 in an effort that began in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson. In August 1988 President Ronald Reagan expanded the celebration to 30 days.
The UA group will be joined by students from Tucson and Nogales high schools as well as a group led by one of Klein's former students who has created a new dance team in Mesa, Ariz
Klein has been dancing folkloric since she was 11, and learned by watching her aunts take classes at Pima Community College. The instructor saw that she quickly learned all the steps and asked the group if she could join them.
Klein has performed in Europe, Japan and Mexico, fulfilling her dream to dance professionally and has shared that dream with generations of students.
"It is a labor of love. There is no money involved for me," Klein said.
The Arizona Cardinals organization is providing transportation to and from Tucson as well as food and tickets for the ensemble.
"It was quite a surprise. I have received interesting offers over the years but this one really has the students excited," Klein said.
The troupe leaves Tucson for Phoenix on Sunday, Sept. 27, at 9:50 a.m. from the Swede Johnson Building at Speedway and Cheery Avenue. Their hopes are that the nation will be given a glimpse of the show during the nationally televised game which will air on NBC at 5:20 p.m. in Arizona.