News Column

Manny Campos marks birthday with performance

August 29, 2014

By Sandy Rojas, San Angelo Standard-Times, Texas

Aug. 29--Manny Campos isn't quite a household name in San Angelo -- yet.

Chances are he's a friend of a friend or a bandmate, past or present, of someone you know. From being a sought-after local musician to an instructor and employee at Angelo State University to serving on civic boards in San Angelo, Campos has carved out a comfortable spot in the local entertainment scene and can be seen at a number of local venues on any given weekend.

Today, Campos will break out his keyboard to continue his Birthday Bash tradition -- his eighth year -- at a new venue for the event: The House of FiFi DuBois. A portion of the bash's proceeds go to First United Methodist Church'sSpirit Youth Group.

"They do a tour with 'Godspell,' " Campos said of the church group. "They'll have a traveling show where they'll take the play on the road. We take a group of kids, bring them all together and put out a great project."

For Campos, music has been a part of his life since an early age.

"Family gatherings, I can remember the music being played. Then I was in the band and choir in middle school. But I didn't pick up a keyboard until right before high school," he said.

Campos' aunt, who was like a grandmother to him, was in a nursing home during his teen years and there was a piano in the facility. He learned to play on his own, using hymnals and the Standard-Times' Christmas carol booklet.

"I learned how to play by feel. Then later on, too, music theory at Angelo State University," he said. "Oddly enough, most of my influences are guitar players. Clapton is my favorite." he said.

The Sonora native wasn't a singer initially, but he was suddenly called on to take the microphone at a Relay for Life event when the scheduled singer was a no-show.

"I was terrified. My brother gave me a pep talk and I did it," Campos said.

When he's not performing, Campos is a part-time instructor at ASU, but his full-time gig is in student affairs and enrollment management at ASU -- a position made possible by a Hispanic-Serving Institution grant.

"I love interacting with the students," he said. "It all relates -- teaching and performing. You have to have the same amount of confidence. You don't just want to go up and sing a song; you have to have a personality."

Through the years of performing and the number of bands he has played with, Campos said at the end of the day he just wants to play. Even though he hasn't "quit his day job" -- as one critic once told him not to do -- he's made some of the best friends he has and learned the most from his time on stage.

If you go

What: Manny's Birthday Bash

When: 8 p.m. today

Where: The House of FiFi DuBois, 123 S. Chadbourne St.

Cost: $5

Contact: 325-658-3434


(c)2014 the San Angelo Standard-Times (San Angelo, Texas)

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Source: San Angelo Standard-Times (TX)

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