Festival de Mariachi en la Isla goes Live

Though only six members of McAllen’s mariachi band returned this school year, the band took the stage without missing a beat.

After nearly two years of online events and preparations, the Festival de Mariachi en la Isla proceeded with its festivities in-person. The event took place on April 30, 2022 in the Performing Arts Center, where a musical performance from the university’s official Mariachi band was featured. The festival was open to the public, and had various local vendors and food trucks to accompany the afternoon event. 

Professor Andrea Montalvo-Hamid, a first-year Writing Program Coordinator and Hispanic Heritage Month Coordinator for Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, explains the concept for the event derives from the two-week-long Mariachi Festival in Guadalajara, Mexico. 

“This is our first time doing it in-person. It definitely takes a lot of planning, organizing, and reaching out to the community,” Montalvo said. 

Montalvo explains that it was a team effort that allowed the mariachi festival to become possible. The committee of five consisted of Jim Moore, Amanda Marquez, Rai Morales, Kenneth Iyescas, and Andrea Monalvo-Hamid. 

Montalvo also adds that she has high hopes of extending the event to a weekend-long festival, filled with Mariachi competitions for students to build their repertoire. 

Melissa Rojas, founder and creator of Chasing Camilla, a Mexican-American business with roots in Donna, Texas, says she was delighted to be a vendor for the festival. Rojas’ business specializes in handmade Zarapes, and she works closely with artisans from Mexico to bring forth authentic merchandise. 

Rojas’ bright, color-filled zarapes, embroidered plushies, and eco-friendly bags are based on Mexican-American styles, fitting for the festival’s Hispanic rooted theme. “I come a lot to Corpus, and Andrea invited me… so I thought I would bring all my items since it’s perfect for this Mariachi event,” Rojas says. 

The festival also included performances from Tuloso Midway Middle School Mariachi Los Guerreros, Eagle Pass C.C. Winn High School Mariachi Toro Azabache, Tuloso Midway High School Mariachi Tierra Mia, McAllen High School Mariachi Oro, Mariachi Nuevo Royal, and of course TAMUCC’s Mariachi de la Isla. 

“I think we would all like to see this (mariachi festival) as a TAMU-CC tradition,” Montalvo says. She also mentions that maintaining this tradition would commemorate TAMU-CC’s Hispanic serving institution side.

As for now, Mariachi de la Isla will continue to graciously perform for university events and festivities.