I’m Not a Soccer Mom - ¡I'm a Mariachi Mama!: Barbara Alvarez

Posted: Apr 21 2014

It’s true. Instead of taking my kids to soccer practices, scrimmages and games, I drove them to mariachi practices, music gigs and the Las Cruces International Mariachi Conferences every year. (There’s actually a scary story in there as well. It involves a really bad storm and a flooded road.)

I live in New Mexico – and it all started when my oldest was in the ninth grade and playing trumpet. He decided to join not one but 2 mariachi groups! While proud that he was getting into the mariachi music – this meant a lot of practices, gigs and using one mariachi outfit for two groups - the only thing that was different was the neck tie for one of the mariachi groups was blue. We’d coordinate schedules for both groups.

Even though it meant a lot of driving back and forth, I enjoyed it. I had great bragging rights! One year, the New Mexico State Legislature invited my son’s youth mariachi (Mariachi Espuelas de Plata) to perform in the Roundhouse while the legislative session was ongoing. (Good memories – except for my coming down with bronchitis…)

In the meantime, my younger son started playing the violin. See, their dad had this dream that they’d be in a group together, playing mariachi. That would have worked, yet I think my hubby forgot - they’re seven years apart. The only time they played together was at our oldest son’s wedding reception in Hammond, Indiana. The mariachi group leader learned that one played guitar and the other played violin. They played and sang “La Negra” and “Guadalajara” together, with the group. Everyone at the reception was serenaded with “Solamente una Vez.” (See all that driving when they were kids paid off…once…)

Even though he’s an adult in college now, my youngest is in a group here in Las Cruces – Mariachi Aguilas. He’s the violin section leader and a vocalist. He’s been bitten by the mariachi and music bug. it’s his life. He plans to major in music education. I don’t drive him to gigs or practices now. He has his driver’s license, so the days of taking them back and forth are just fond memories.

Let’s talk about a few of the ways you know you’re a mariachi mom or dad:
*You invite your family and friends to your child’s performance – even though they’ve heard them perform before;
*You’re at all the concerts yourself – even though you know the playlist by heart;
*You have mariachi CDs in your car and that’s all you listen to;
*You buy valve oil, new violin strings or guitarron strings even though you took money out of savings – oops!

Think of a few ways that you know you’re a mariachi mom or dad. And pat yourselves on the back because you’re keeping the herencia alive for the next generation.

-Barbara Alvarez
Barbara is a writer for Hispanic.com



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