Mariachi Nueva Generación and Mariachi Lince de Oro will be hosting a Merry-achi Christmas Concert on Dec. 9. at 7:30 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center.
The Christmas concert is the first of its kind being hosted by the mariachi groups and serves as a fundraiser to helps send the groups to Albuquerque in the summer of 2018 for the Mariachi Spectacular. The festival is one of the largest of its kind and is an event in which mariachi groups have the opportunity to compete and attend educational workshops.
Texas State’s first mariachi group debuted in 1997 after John Lopez, coordinator of Latin Music Studies and director of both mariachi groups, noticed a group of students regularly playing mariachi music in the lobby of the music building. Lopez said after seeing the student’s interest in this genre, he proposed the idea to start a mariachi class. Over the years the class has grown into something much bigger.
While there are many university mariachi ensembles across the country, Lopez said Texas State is unique in the fact that it is the only university with a music program that extends mariachi into the curriculum with a mariachi minor as well as a masters program with a mariachi track offered through the School of Music.
“I never want any of this to go away,” Lopez said. “Ensemble numbers and groups can go up and down, but degrees are more rooted in the university. I wanted to build deep, strong roots so this would never go away.”
Saul Flores, violin performance freshman and member of Mariachi Nueva Generación, said that one of the reasons he wanted to attend Texas State was because of the well-known mariachi program.
Flores said that although mariachi is an intrinsic part of his identity as a Mexican-American, he also enjoys the fact that it is a genre that has many styles and emotions.
“I feel like people are so blinded to mariachi, like when they think of mariachi they probably think of people at restaurants, but they should know that mariachi is not just those types, you also have the show types with songs that mean something and not just songs to get your money,” Flores said.
Victor Briseño, computer science sophomore and member of Mariachi Nueva Generación, said he believes music knows no language and that the variance in emotions portrayed through mariachi can be felt by anyone who takes a moment to listen.
With something in the music for everyone to enjoy, Briseño said that he is glad to have such a strong and developed mariachi program at Texas State because it helps to keep the Mexican traditions alive in this day and age
“I think a lot of the times some of the traditions that we take for granted tend to leave us the quickest and one of those traditions I guess would be folk music in general,” Briseño said. “No matter what ethnic group you are from I think we can all agree that ethnic music tends to be very close to us but we don’t recognize it and when we don’t recognize it, it just tends to disappear.”
Briseño said he and his fellow mariachi members are excited to share mariachi interpreted Christmas music with the community in the spirit of Christmas.