Chapala is mourning the untimely passing of Rafael (Pili) Terríquez, an accomplished local musician who lost his life at age 59 in a November 19 highway accident.
News of his tragic death preceded the cancellation of a performance of the Rafael Terríquez Big Band scheduled for Saturday, November 24, at the Spotlight Club.
Born in Guadalajara February 4, 1959, Terríquez was raised in Chapala from infancy. His illustrious musical career began at the age of 13 when he joined the local Banda Niños Heroes. In 1979, he relocated to Mexico City to seek more promising opportunities as a brass instrumentalist. Through ensuing years he was employed in back-up groups for many of Mexico’s most famous vocalists, including Lupita D´Alessio, Daniela Romo, Ricardo Montaner, Celia Cruz, Marco Antonio Muñiz and Vicente Fernández.
In 1991 he was recruited to join the orchestra that played with the late, great, Mexican singer Juan Gabriel. During a 10-year tenure with the group, he traveled to 24 countries to perform with the renowned “Divo de Juárez.” Terríquez had a moment in the spotlight when he was filmed at the 1998 Viña del Mar Festival in Chile, after Gabriel called him to step out front to dance to the tune “Todavia Te Quiero,” followed by a trombone improvisation.
He was later hired to play at the farewell concert of vocal giant Vicente Fernández in August, 2016, at Mexico City’s Estadio Azteca.
Settling down back in his home town a few years back, Terríquez founded the eponymous big band that has appeared at numerous local venues. He also gave music lessons at the School of Artistic Initiation operated at the Centro Cultural González Gallo under the auspices of the National Institute of Fine Arts. More recently he joined the newly formed Lake Chapala Community Orchestra as lead trombonist.
Chapala’s Calle López Cotilla was closed off outside the Funeraria San Francisco, where family, friends and admirers gathered Tuesday night and Wednesday morning for his wake. The Jalisco State Band showed up there to offer a musical tribute to a cherished colleague. A funeral mass followed at the San Francisco Parish.
Terríquez is survived by his widow Josefina, son Nicolás and daughter Diana, who sings with her father’s band, and several siblings.