The American Bank Center Selena Auditorium is an integral part of the American Bank Center complex of meeting and entertainment venues and was originally built in 1979. With seating for over 2,500 and an outstanding acoustical rating, the American Bank Center Selena Auditorium has been one of the most attended venues for entertainment in the Coastal Bend area.
The 2004 renovation and expansion includes an entrance to the grand lobby off of Shoreline Boulevard and a revitalized entrance from the stairways on the Chapparral Street side. Second level access has been developed, allowing event attendees to move from the auditorium to the arena or convention center with ease.
In 1996, the auditorium was named for the late Tejano entertainer, Selena Quintanilla - Perez, known simply as "Selena" to her adoring fans. Known for her powerful voice, sexy dance moves, and unique costume designs, Selena was the No. 1 female Latino star in the United States and Mexico before her untimely death on March 31, 1995, in Corpus Christi, Texas at the age of 23.
Selena was the youngest of three children born to Abraham and Marcella Quintanilla in Lake Jackson, Texas later moving to Corpus Christi. By 1980, at the age of nine, Selena was working alongside her family taking her place as the lead singer of their band, Selena Y Los Dinos. The group toured Texas performing for weddings and small clubs. Recognized for their talent and lively stage performances, Selena Y Los Dinos signed with EMI Latin.
By April 1995, Selena became the first recording artist to place five Spanish-language albums simultaneously on the Billboard 200. Her Grammy-nominated 1994 release Amor Prohibido went platinum, as did her 1993 Grammy Award winning album Selena Live! and her 1992 album Entre a Mi Mundo.
Amor Prohibido was released in 1994; the record's title track won a Grammy and went gold. In 1995, Selena began preparing to make her breakthrough into the American pop mainstream. In the spring of that year she was working on her first English-language album when she went to a motel room in Corpus Christi to fire 34-year-old Yolanda Saldivar, the woman who managed Selena’s boutique in San Antonio and the founder of the Selena fan club. A few days before the confrontation Selena’s father had discovered paperwork proving that Saldivar had been embezzling from the fan club. Saldivar and Selena argued and as the singer left, she was shot in the back. Selena managed to walk into the motel lobby where she named Saldivar as the killer. An hour later, Selena died in a local hospital. It was a death that rocked the entire Latino music industry. Saldivar was convicted for the murder of Selena in November 1995 and sentenced to at least 30 years in prison.
Many of Selena's hits were, and still are, heavily rotated on radio stations. Since her passing, Selena's life has inspired a hit movie, a Broadway bound musical, and a successful clothing line. So deeply felt by the Hispanic community was the tragedy of her death, that People magazine's commemorative issue of Selena, which sold a record number of copies, ultimately spurred the creation of the now-popular magazine People En Espanol. Selena’s legacy will forever live in the hearts of her faithful fans.