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Mariachi ND cha-chas to the top

Christian Myers | Monday, October 14, 2013

It is no longer a secret that the best way to turn your campus event from siesta to fiesta is to include a performance from Mariachi ND.
In its first year as an official club, Mariachi ND is drawing more attention than ever before, senior Briana Cortez, Mariachi ND president and director, said.
The group has already performed at a tailgate hosted by Multicultural Student Programs and Services (MSPS), the [email protected] series, the Fiesta del Sol and the NDream Immigration Celebration, Cortez said.
Sophomore Maggie Schmid, Mariachi ND secretary, said Mariachi ND is and should be enjoyed for their cultural connotation and their talent.
“You can celebrate a culture you grew up with or learn about a new culture,” Schmid said. “We also have some very talented people in our group and everyone should want to hear them.”
Schmid said joining Mariachi in college has been a way to reconnect with her heritage.
“I didn’t necessarily grow up around it, but my mom’s family loves mariachi music. [Mariachi ND] allowed me to get back to my roots,” she said. “And everyone in Mariachi is like family now.”
Cortez said gaining club status made it easier for the group to contact and be contacted by those requesting a performance. She also said they began providing a Valentine’s Day serenade service last year and have benefitted from the publicity it generated.
Although this is their first year as a club, the group has been around since 1995 as a subdivision of the Coro Primavera, a Spanish-language liturgical choir for Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s students, Cortez said.
She said in past years the group has performed annually at the Kellogg Institute’s Dia de los Muertos celebration, Latin Expressions and the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe mass in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart.
Sophomore Samantha Rosas, Mariachi ND social media representative, said a future goal for the group is to play during halftime of a football game.
Cortez said one of her favorite things about Mariachi ND is exposing people to Mexican culture and the mariachi tradition.
“I love the people and I love the music, but I also love just walking around campus and seeing the reactions of people,” she said. “They stop us to ask questions and take pictures, and it’s really fun. Our club is about sharing the culture and what mariachi stands for.”
Cortez said she came to the University fully intending to join Mariachi ND after seeing a performance while visiting as a high school senior.
“I wasn’t that into mariachi before I came here. It was just always in the background growing up,” she said. “I came for spring visitation weekend and saw Mariachi play. I thought it was so cool. I came as a freshman looking for this band, and was once I was in it I thought it was amazing.”
Cortez said the group offers new experiences both musically and socially.
“It’s a perfect opportunity to explore musical creativity. It’s a chance for musicians to challenge themselves and expand their horizons,” she said. “You also get to meet people you wouldn’t otherwise meet. Every Tuesday you can come to relax and play music with your friends.”
Rosas said performances provide a great way to communicate a cultural heritage to those who are unfamiliar with it.
“You can reach out to people who don’t even understand what you’re saying. The music breaks down barriers,” Rosas said.
Rosas said Mariachi is her favorite activity on campus because the group is like a family.
“I joined freshman year looking for that sense of family that is sometimes lacking in college,” she said. “The group provides this because it is centered on a love for the same type of music, a commonality that brings us together. It is my favorite thing that I’m part of that does have a sense of family.”Senior Fernando Lozano, Mariachi ND librarian, said he joined the club because it represents a connection to his family, especially his grandfather.
“The reason I joined Mariachi is mariachi has always been a big part of my life,” Lozano said. “I wanted to stay connected to my grandpa who loved mariachi – he would have mariachi music playing all the time and sang well himself. It’s also a connection with all of my family back home. We always have mariachi music at family gatherings.”
Lozano said the club encourages all interested musicians to join Mariachi ND. He said he recommends joining because they are very creative and experimental.
“People should join us because we try a lot of new things and experiment – it’s very spontaneous. We’re even considering doing some covers of non-mariachi songs this year,” he said.