By RENE TORRES
Special to the PARADE
Her name was Irma Garza born in 1944 in Linn, Texas—located about 30 miles north of Edinburg. She rose from this agrarian community singing her way with a defined destiny. You could say that the stage was her playground.
Her first audience was her family and by the time she was eight-years-old, she was crisscrossing the Rio Grande Valley, performing on different stages.
Beyond her talent, she was well known among her peers and the general public in her community. In 1957, she was royalty, crowned as queen in formal court at the Guerra Country Club in San Manuel, Texas
Her sentimental journey with music took a passionate turn when Estella P. Lane entered her life. Many of the songs Irma recorded early in her career were composed by Estella.
The song, “Especialmete Para Ti,” was one of Irma’s most played pieces. It was recorded at Ideal Records in San Benito, and it was an instant hit.
She was ahead of her time when she recorded a Christmas album in Spanish that included such classics as, “Pancho Claus” and “Donde Esta Santa Claus?” Irma could sing in Spanish and English with equal gusto. In fact, one of her albums was Country & Western.
When Irma’s talent was exposed to bigger audiences through the radio, others reached out to her such as the legendary Amelia Mendoza, a well-known Mexican singer and movie actress.
Irma traveled with Angel Infante of Falcon Records and Amelia on a singing tour throughout Mexico, which was a milestone in her young career.
One of her crowning moments was when she was invited to appear on the, “Moulton Ty Cobb Variety Show.” The show aired daily on KRGV-TV. Irma performed on the show on a regular basis, and as a Latina during this era, it was something to brag about. She was a pioneer, opening trails for other Latinos that followed.
Ty’s show was considered one of the state’s most popular variety television shows, combining news, interviews, and performances from local talent and beyond. He provided the stage for the most famous individuals in the state such Irma, who were making their first appearances on television.
Hollywood took notice…
The highlight of her career came when she was 13-years-old when Hollywood and Lawrance Welk took notice.
It was a dream come true when she was invited to perform on the Lawernce Welk National Television Show.
The Fort Worth Star Telegram reported, “Irma Garza, from Linn, Texas, will sing on “Lawrence Welk’s Top Tunes.” she took the stage like an old pro, with an abundance of confidence and delivering a sparkling performance.
Want the whole story? Pick up a copy of the South Padre Parade, or subscribe to our E-Edition for FREE by clicking here