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Chapter 20: Orquesta Carrales:
The Carrales Show Band


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As the days toward the wedding became shorter and shorter, all types of preparations were going into the works. Money was spent, time was running short and things were coming together.


One extra item also came together. Since the first day of the engagement, my Father had thrown around the idea of putting together a band to play a few songs. This idea grew as the days got closer. At first it was just going to be my dad and I, but soon Anthony got into it and became excited at finally being able to play songs he liked. We began to try to find songs we could play with the instrumentation we had.

History will probably record that Norma did not sing at the wedding, although she had promised to do so. She was to have practiced the Pee-Wee King song, Slowpoke. We had gotten used to singing it in the car as we went to our many gigs and other trips. She became excited and we even ordered the music. An antique copy of the song probably last looked at when Eisenhower was in the Whitehouse.

Even so, as the calendar changed, so did Norma’s mind. Needless to say, Slowpoke was dropped from the play list. Although it will return, in some form in the future, despite what she says.

Ah, yes, the play list. Many songs had come to mind from day one. This Guy’s in Love with You as played and sung by Herb Alpert also was suggested. It was dropped early one. In the final cut, the song list included the following songs. We played around with the song More today than Yesterday, it proved to high to sing and play.

Las Nubes as recorded by Little Joe, Havana Express an marching band arrangement altered to our instrumentation and made into a corrida, The Lonely Bull as recorded by Herb Alpert and The Tijuana Brass, Colour my World as recorded by Chicago, an version of the 1940’s Buddy Clark song Linda altered to be called Norma and the Cowboy Cumbia.

The Orchestra Horns

Practice was at first a problem. We needed to get the proper instrumentation down and insure that there were plenty of musicians. Jessie Rios was going to help us play guitar and/or drums. My day would play bass guitar, my brother would play the trumpet. I would sing and play violin and trombone as needed. This was altered when Jessie opted not to participate. We now needed a guitar player. That began a long search to find a "picker."

The addition to the band from that point then included my brother’s friend Lucas Barrera, a trumpet player and J.D. Sanchez, a guitar and valve trombone player. J.D. played with my brother in the High School Mariachi. He and my brother barrowed a valve-trombone and marching French Horn, or Mellophone, from the High School Band. Felix Adan, an mutual friend of Anthony and myself, agreed to play it and we had a full horn section.


The search for a guitar player was on, fortunately the wedding was more than three months away. Pete Suarez, of mariachi guitarron fame, came and spent hours playing music with us. We visted him as well, but he had duties in the valley and it became clear that he could not practice with us. My father asked his friend Claudio Perez to help. Claudio was a long time conjunto and tejano musicain from the South Texas Area. He came to a few practices, but had to stop due to work. In addition, one of my father’s friends, Henry Fletcher came over a few times. Fletcher was also a friend of Mariachi Cascabel’s David Gonzales, who also came on evening. Fletcher came over and practiced singing and playing with my dad.

In the end my day asked his old softball Friend, Rolando Garcia, to play guitar. Rolando had played in a Rock Band with my father in the 1970's and he fit right into to group. Now we were again in business. Between all of us we had the makings of a really good “orquesta.” We joked about the name calling it “Anthony Carrales and the Reynosa Brass” or “The High School Senior Seniors.” I just called it Orquesta Carrales. My dad didn't like that name, so the search for the name of the group continued.


Soon Sunday and Monday nights were full scale practices. People came from as far away as Kingsville to play. Ruben Hernandez, a Mariachi friend, joined us on the 16th of June. He covered J.D.’s parts in J.D.’s absence. He even helped me sing Las Nubes and Cowboy Cumbia

The Birth of the Carrales Show Band

The Carrales Show Band played its first real gig at the Carrales Family Showbarn in Carrales Ranch, Texas on July 5, 2001. It was a celebration of birthdays and the first dry run of the new group. It was a great day of music, fireworks and bar-be-que. Lucus Barerra showed us his cooking skills and prepared one of the finest examples of grill skilled bar-be-que.

We had a nice sized crowd, we hoped to have a good showing to see if we were ready to play infront of an audience. My Aunt Palmira and Uncle Samuel Garcia where there with their daughter Anna Mariah. It was Sammy's birthday, as well as my own. Lucus invited his parents, Mr. & Mrs. Homer Barerra. J.D. invited his parents, Juan and Velma Sanchez, as well as his sister Anna Lisa Sanchez. Of course, the guys were there and , much to my glee, Norma.

Carrales Show Band

I began the evening entertainment by saying, "Welcome to the Carrales Family Show Barn and introducing the Carrales Show Band." We then sang Happy Birthday, which we arranged on the spot.

The Horns again in action

A night in Carrales Ranch, Texas

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