‘Mariachi de la Isla and Folklórico Showcase’ ends HHM with a flourish


Kedran Wade/ISLAND WAVES – Mariachi de la Isla hit the stage to perform for a full house.

As soon as Mariachi de la Isla strolle onto the stage of the Performing Arts Center, they were met with thunderous applause from the audience. The concert, held on Oct. 17, was accompanied by a folklorico culture dance. The performance capped off a month of events celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month, and their first piece, “Viva el Mariachi,” by Manuel Ponce, set the tone for a rousing evening.

However, this was not the first time Mariachi de Isla was received at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi with tremendous applause. Back in April of 2018, they debuted their first campus performance with their signature blue trajes, or uniforms, and the proud Islander logo embroidered on their shoulder.

“It is definitely really neat to watch,” said Amanda Martinez, a junior at TAMU-CC. “I came here with my friend to watch the show, and it’s really cool that the school has its own mariachi band. If I hadn’t come, I would’ve never known.”

Mariachi de la Isla is made up of 14 talented members under the direction of Dr. Rai Morales. The band was first assembled in 2017 when TAMU-CC President Kelly Quintanilla, alongside Dr. Morales, decided that the university needed to embrace mariachi culture for the beauty of preserving Hispanic representation on campus. The band has since been brought together by skilled student musicians to showcase their talents and perform Hispanic-driven music for the enjoyment of students, faculty, staff and the Corpus Christi community.

As the night carried on, audience members were on their feet each time the iconic Mexican Grito was exclaimed by one of the singers. A grito, directly translated would be a “scream,” commonly used in Mariachi music to symbolize pride and excitement felt by performers to uplift the audience’s spirit.

“My mom would have definitely loved to hear that,” said Martinez. “(The grito) it really is a Mexican symbol. It’s such a proud remark or gesture thing, like you hear it and that’s how you determine if a mariachi band is good or not. They did a great job at it.”

“I think my favorite piece was probably the ‘Volver, Volver’ song. Just because everyone knows Vicente Fernandez. (singer of “Volver, Volver”) He’s iconic you know.”

In-between musical sets, Alcorta’s Compañía de Danza Folklórica, under the direction of Samuel Alcorta Jr, hit the stage with colorful dances that illuminated the auditorium. The Alcorta dance company is a non-profit organization that dedicates its  time and energy to preserving “the art of Mexican Folklorica and Latin folk dancing throughout South Texas,” as stated in their company biography.

They performed traditional dances from different regions of Mexico, like Sones del Rancho from Jalisco and Sones Jarochos from Veracruz. Audience members were particularly enthusiastic when they performed Calabaceados, a traditional cowboy dance from Baja California.

Students from the Spanish program also came to show support for the performances and set up a brochure table right outside the doors of the auditorium.

For some students, having Hispanic traditions like the mariachi and the folklorico dance showcased on campus brought a great sense of representation.

“I think it’s very important for our culture,” said Jolyn Cocotl, a member of the Spanish program, “like the Hispanic culture, to be presented and debuted here at the university because it’s a majority of the students who are also part of the culture as well.”

This was one of the last events for Hispanic Heritage Month, and as the last song of the night came to an end, the performers thanked their audience for a wonderful night and were received with a standing ovation, a grand ending for Hispanic Heritage Month.

“If you didn’t come this time,” said Cocotl, “I’m sure they’ll have another one next year.”

For those interested in joining the University’s Mariachi Band, contact musical director Dr. Rai Morales.