News Column

Jenni Rivera Fans Pay Tribute to 'La Diva de la Banda'

Dec 19, 2012

Susan Abram

Jenni Rivera

"Drink tequila and beer, let the bands play with might," she sang. "Release butterflies, applaud me with your hands, because that's how you celebrate when a lady dies."

About seven years after the release of that song, her haunting lyrics will come to pass Wednesday during Rivera's memorial service at the Gibson Amphitheatre in Universal City. Nearly 6,000 fans are expected to arrive holding white roses.

Billed by the Rivera family as a "Celestial Graduation," the service is scheduled to be held from 10 a.m. to noon. Rivera's brother, the Rev. Pedro Rivera Jr., will lead the ceremony.

A limited number of tickets were available on a first-come, first-served basis Tuesday at noon, and reportedly sold out in 15 minutes.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department will have more deputies on hand for what's expected to be a large crowd, Sgt. Kevin Rasmussen of the Universal City substation said.

He said deputies don't know exactly how many people will be there, but they're prepared for a sold-out crowd.

Sold-out events are a near-daily event at the venue, Rasmussen said, so the Rivera memorial isn't expected to be anything out of the ordinary in terms of handling logistics.

"We're pretty much used to dealing with this," he said.

Rivera, 43, died Dec. 9 when her rented Learjet LJ25 crashed in northern Mexico about 15 minutes after departing Monterrey, Mexico. Six other people aboard also died.

The family has requested that in lieu of flowers, fans make donations to the Jenni Rivera Love Foundation, and arrive to the memorial with a single white rose. Burial services will be private.

Rivera was known in Mexico and the United States as "La Diva de la Banda," a singer who had sold more than 15 million records of banda music and whose life, loves and losses were well known among her admirers.

Born and raised in Long Beach, Rivera was one of the biggest stars of the Mexican regional style known as grupero music, which is influenced by the norteno, cumbia and ranchero styles.

While her music drew many toward her, it was Rivera's story of humble beginnings growing up in Long Beach, as well as her Gloria Gaynor, "I Will Survive"-like attitude toward life, her three marriages, her five children, and her sense of giving back, that appealed to her fans.

The singer, businesswoman and actress had her own reality shows including "I Love Jenni" and "Jenni Rivera Presents: Chiquis and Raq-C" and her daughter's "Chiquis 'n Control." She had recently signed a deal with ABC to develop a sitcom about a Latina single mom.



Source: (c)2012 the Daily News (Los Angeles). Distributed by MCT Information Services.


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