Born and raised in the border city of Laredo, Texas, Rene Gonzalez began playing percussion at 11 years old. He continued studying percussion throughout high school and during this time when Rene's high school band director took him to a sound check with the legendary Poncho Sanchez. Inspired by Poncho Sanchez' performance, Rene made a concerted effort to approach Latin percussion head on.
Upon his completion of high school, Rene was accepted into Texas State University's Music program where he went on to receive a Bachelor's Degree in Music Education. During his stay at Texas State University, Rene was a vital member of the institution’s award-winning salsa band, Salsa Del Rio. Rene won many awards with Salsa Del Rio including the "Best Conguero" award at the Notre Dame's Collegiate Jazz Festival 50th Anniversary in 2008 and a Down Beat Magazine’s "Best Blues, Pop and Rock Recording" award for Salsa Del Rio’s album Llorarás in 2007. Additionally, while performing with Salsa Del Rio, the band won three awards at Univision’s Premios a La Musica Latina in San Antonio, Texas for Best Salsa Band of the Year. The band also participated at the 2007 Brienz Jazz Festival and Montreaux Jazz Festival in Switzerland.
Amy Ann Zuniga is a graduate assistant for the Latin American Music program at Texas State University. She is a co-director for Orquesta del Rio, one of the salsa ensembles in the program.
Amy is originally from Alamo, Texas. She received a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from Texas State University in May 2010. Amy is currently pursuing a Master of Music degree in Latin American Music Performance at Texas State University.
Amy has peformed in many ensembles at the university including Salsa del Rio, Orquesta del Rio, Mariachi Nueva Generacion, Texas State's Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Orchestra, Symphonic Winds, Wind Ensemble, and the Bobcat Marching Band. With these ensembles, Amy has had the opportunity to perform at the Montreaux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, the Notre Dame Collegiate Jazz Festival, the CBDNA Convention in Kansas City, Missouri, and at many venues throughout the state of Texas. Amy received second place in the collegiate level at the Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza vocal competition in 2010.
She currently is a member of the Grooveland Chicano Band, a Tejano band based out of San Antonio, Texas. In this group, she sings and plays alto saxophone. The Grooveland Chicano Band released their self-titled album in the spring of 2011.
Amy is a member of Sigma Alpha Iota, a professional music fraternity for women. She currently serves as President of the Theta Omega chapter at Texas State University.