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MONTELONGO, ROY

Roy Montelongo
Roy Montelongo, saxophonist, bandleader, and deejay, earned many honors for his work in Tejano music, including induction into the Tejano Music Hall of Fame. Valmon Records Collection, Texas Music Museum.

 MONTELONGO, ROY (1938–2001). Raul (Roy) Guerrero Montelongo, Tejano musician and radio announcer, was born on September 21, 1938, in Hays County, Texas. He was the son of Vicente and Rachel (Guerrero) Montelongo. Roy, one of thirteen children, grew up in a musical family in Austin. His father, a clarinetist and saxophonist in the famed Beto Villa Orchestra, taught him to play those instruments at a very young age. Roy went on to play in the school bands at Allen Junior High and Austin High School. At the age of fifteen on the recommendation of his father, Roy played saxophone with Beto Villa. Montelongo performed with Villa and other orchestras including with Isidro López, Manuel “Cowboy” Donley y Las Estrellas, and Alfonso Ramos, for several years.

In 1964 he started his own band, Roy Montelongo and His Orchestra, in Austin. His first album was titled Austin Presenta Roy Montelongo, issued on Valmon Records. Over the course of his career Montelongo went on to record more than twenty albums for such labels as Freddie Records, Buena Vida, and his own label, Texas Records. During the 1960s he also worked with KWED radio personality Rosita Ornelas and did live remote shows in Seguin. Montelongo began a long career in radio and worked as a deejay in several Texas cities for several stations, including Austin stations KTXZ and KOOP. His last live performance with a band occurred in 1991 as part of Austin’s Legends of Tejano Music tour that featured such talents as Sunny Ozuna, Joe Bravo, Carlos Guzmán, and others. That same year Montelongo was honored by induction into the Conjunto Music Hall of Fame. He continued in radio until 1998 by which time he was suffering from throat cancer.

Montelongo had one daughter, Mary, by Alice Ramirez. He was a member of St. Ignatius Catholic Church in Austin. He died of cancer in Austin on June 14, 2001, and was buried in Assumption Cemetery. He was survived by his daughter, two grandsons, and three great grandchildren. On December 11, 2001, the Austin Latino Music Association honored Montelongo with the Idolos Del Barrio Award, and on March 19, 2004, he was awarded the Tejano Artists Music Museum’s Pioneer Award. In 2006 the City of Austin commissioned a bronze statue of Montelongo commemorating his legacy to Tejano music. “Roy Montelongo’s Scenic View” at Fiesta Gardens, located in East Austin, provided the centerpiece to a Trail of Tejano Music honoring the city’s Tejano musical pioneers. In 2008 he was an inaugural inductee in the Austin Music Memorial.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Austin Music Memorial 2008 Inductees (http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/music/memorial08.htm), accessed June 30, 2008. Ramón Hernandez, “Roy Montelongo: September 21, 1938–June 14, 2007,” Tejano Entertainment Magazine, January 2002. McAllen Monitor, July 20, 2001.  

Laurie E. Jasinski

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Handbook of Texas Online, Laurie E. Jasinski, "Montelongo, Roy ," accessed October 17, 2017, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fmocf.

Uploaded on June 4, 2015. Modified on September 14, 2015. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.