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Chapter 3: Mariachi Juvenil de mi Pueblo(1988-1994)


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Mariachi Juvenil de Mi Pueblo

I began the 8th grade as a violinist, as well as trombonist. Mr. Cortez, the director of the High School Band and Mariachi, soon noticed my improving violin skills and quickly invited me to the high school rehearsals. I soon was given the O.K. to become a member of Mariachi Juvenil de Mi Pueblo. I was given a stack of music and two weeks to be proficient on it. The first person I looked to for help was my Grandfather. He helped me learn these arrangements which were not too different from his. I also learned to play Cielito Lindo and began work on La Negra, two signature Mariachi pieces. Since Linda Ronstadt had just released her collection of Canciones de mi Padre, the songs La Cigarra and La Calandria were prime songs to learn for contest. La Negra, unbeknownst to me, was being learned for a contest that the group was go to attend. I would not be part of that performance, but I would for La Cigarra and La Calandria.

Mariach Juvenil de mi Pueblo
Mariachi Juvenil de Mi Pueblo- as it appeared in Fort Worth, Texas Sept 1989 for Dairy Queen Commercial

During my eighth grade year I joined my first mariachi, Mexican folk music, band and traveled to Dallas, Texas to film a commercial advertisement for the Diary Queen fast food chain. That was my first real trip away from home with out my family. It was wondrous. A chance to go with a musical group to film a commercial, in Dallas, Texas. I was only an 8th grader, how could it be that I would be traveling with the high school. The potential for disaster was there.

I remember the whole thing as being unusual. One day, while I was in band class, Mr. Ernesto Cortez came to me and asked if I wanted to go with the group to participate in what was going to be the "biggest gig the high school Mariachi had ever played.

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