Gabriel Ayala Headlining Downtown Summer Concert Series at Tucson’s Presidio

May 5, 2015

By Cristina Manos

Presidio8The San Agustin Presidio in Downtown at 196 N. Court is kicking off a series of benefit concerts with world-renowned Gabriel Ayala headlining on June 6th. The Presidio is raising money to continue to provide educational programs for students, families and adults in order to preserve and honor the various cultures and their traditions who have resided at Fort Tucson throughout its history.

More importantly, Executive Director of the Presidio Trust, Amy Hartman, hopes the concert will bring together the diverse people of Tucson to honor the cultures of our region, as the Presidio is truly a ‘meeting place’ and it is, in fact, where The City of Tucson started. Downtown is our core, and the benefit presents an opportunity for Tucsonans to meet, greet and appreciate one another while enjoying the historical atmosphere.

Fort Tucson experienced the Spanish Period, the Mexican Period and the American Period and residents included soldiers, their families, and Native Americans. Tucson has become a blend of these cultures and home to several others. The Presidio seeks to honor its history while inspiring modern day multiculturalism, connection, and respect for our blend of traditions.

Photo courtesy of Gabriel Ayala

Photo courtesy of Gabriel Ayala

Having Gabriel Ayala as a headliner is a big deal. So many musicians and music fans in Tucson repeat the sentiment that no one has ever made it big out of Tucson. Ayala is a member of the Yaqui people of Southern Arizona, grew up on the reservation in a traditional manner, was raised by his grandmother and cherishes her and honors her with gratitude every day of his adult life. He was in fact, the kid who had the odds against him, and he certainly did ‘make it.’

Ayala was a featured artist at President Barack Obama’s Inaugural Ball and played for Pope Benedict XVI at the canonization of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha. Ayala has won various awards from the Native American Music Awards to the 2011 Tanner Award from The University of Arizona’s American Indian Alumni, as he graduated from the U of A in 1997 with a Master’s Degree in Music Performance. Ayala’s career is in full swing as he ventures all over the United States to perform. He’s shared the stage with other greats such as The Temptations and The Four Tops. He is considered a guitar master and has been an educator for many years.

Ayala is looking forward to the performance. “Since the first time I stepped foot in the Presidio I felt it would be a great place to showcase my music. I’m honored to have been asked to do so and looking forward to this event,” Ayala says. Tickets are available for purchase at


Adara Rae Lialios

The Presidio is a great venue for a concert, though most Tucsonans don’t yet know it. An original colonial house turned gift shop marks the entrance to the property, and what lies beyond is a series of patios and a huge courtyard. Original pieces of Fort Tucson were preserved and were integrated into refurbishing the site. It’s a spacious meeting place, and while guests are enjoying the music of the Gabriel Ayala Trio and opening act Adara Rae Lialios, they’ll enjoy shade at the bar, and appetizers and beverages provided by La Cocina.

Doors open at 6pm, and those with VIP tickets will have the chance to enjoy a meet and greet with Ayala, discounted refreshments, and front row seating. Music will start at 7pm after Mayor Jonathan Rothschild gives an introduction speech.

The opening act, Adara Rae Lialios, is an inspiring singer songwriter who has taken Tucson by surprise over the last few years, as this 19 year old can be seen lighting up a room or patio several times a month at popular venues. “I’m honored to be a part of this amazing event. I look forward to sharing my music while connecting our community and honoring the many cultures that make Tucson the unique and beautiful place that is it,” Lialios says.

Ayala has been known to sell out local venues so get your tickets now for this one-of-a-kind event that will allow you to enjoy the history of our city while meeting and enjoying music with others in your community. The event will take place June 6th at the Presidio San Agustin, 196 N. Court Ave, with doors at 6pm. Tickets are available here, and for more about the Presidio San Agustin and it’s important role in education and community collaboration, click here.