The Island University now has its first ever mariachi band, thanks to Texas A&M University President Kelly Quintanilla and Dr. Rai Morales.
The band made its first formal performance at the Performing Arts Center on April 10. A total of nine songs were performed, including a hometown favorite, Tu Solo Tu (You, Only You) by Selena. The band performs folklore music from Mexico and other parts of Texas, focusing mostly on mariachi. Laredo and El Paso along with other cities in the Rio Grande Valley have rich experience in Mariachi Music.
One of guitarists of the band is Shayna Sands, a senior music major.
“The is the first time I have gotten into mariachi music,” Sands said. “I have no background in the mariachi field whatsoever, but I love the whole experience. The coolest thing about this whole experience is that you have some people who have more experience than others, like me, who have no knowledge. What I am trying to get at is when the band was first getting together, everyone had to learn from each other.”
The Mariachi Band on the Island is made up of 15 students. Seven play the violin, three play the trumpets, one plays on the big guitar (known as the Guitarrón), one plays the Vihuela, which is also known to be the big guitar, two more students play guitar and lastly, there is a student who plays the harp.
Senior music education major Mark Cantu said Quintanilla and Morales helped immensely with putting the band together.
“At first, Dr. Quintanilla really wanted a Mariachi Band for the Island and she had gone to Dr. Morales to talk about budgeting and funding to get us on the Island and with all the hard work that they have gone through just to get us where we are, we can’t thank them enough,” Cantu said.
Audience members can agree that the show and the band is bringing culture alive to the Island and that not only showing the diversity, but that the music is enjoyable. Junior geology major Brendan Villa said he enjoyed both the band and their performance.
I for one enjoy mariachi music,” Villa said. “I came out to support my friends, but I also came to listen to the music. It was a really good concert.”
Arturo Galvan, a senior music education major also commented on the concert.
“I am very glad that the university has a mariachi band,” Galvan said. “I am from Laredo and over there, we are known to be big for Mariachi Music. So, its nice to see that the Mariachi culture is being brought down here to Corpus.”
For more information about Mariachi de la Isla, visit pac.tamucc.edu.