In the News: Marching Mariachis

September 1, 2020

Mary Grace Mora, Palo Alto College student

This article was written by Palo Alto College student Mary Grace Mora, music education student and captain of the Marching Mariachi folklorico color guard. It was originally published in the "Live from the Southside Magazine" in Sept. 2020. 

The Marching Mariachis are a hybrid marching band which fuses traditional Mariachi culture and Marching Band traditions while displaying the raw talent of students in the San Antonio area. When this band was still in its formative stages, the band director Mrs. Denise Brown, me, and the other members would have countless meetings on what would set us apart from other marching bands.

We concluded that if we wanted to be different, we had to make something no one has ever heard or seen before. We decided to gear our music selection towards mixing Tejano and Mariachi music with modern and marching band music which creates its own new unique sound while at the same time keeping the trajes as an homage to mariachi; we even have singers.

To make this happen, Mrs. Brown writes our sheet music and our drumline has been working on writing and adapting cadences to make our own Southside sound. The Color Guard has taken on the challenge of blending traditions of mixing the choreography you would see on the field with the movements of ballet folklorico. The hours we spend together making this happen has really shown how music can bring people together, even in challenging times. Being a part of this band is like being a part of one big family.

The Marching Mariachis has opened a door to become a creative outlet for people who come to join city wide with different backgrounds, all you must do is be an alumni or current PAC student. We have members fresh from high school, homeschooled students, students who have worked on their career and gone back to school, veterans, music majors and cosmetology majors, and everything in between.

Seeing the way we can all come together, even with different backgrounds is a feeling that is ndescribable. We want to make the South Side proud and show San Antonio what the Southside culture is all about. “The pride of the southside” is not just a quote to us but a statement of what we have become. Southside culture is something that we can all take pride in, no matter your background.

As Captain of the Folklorico and Color-guard team, it means to me that I must set the example for the younger generation that they can do whatever they set their mind to. This has given me a platform to break the “norm” in the dance and color guard community. I want to use this as an opportunity to show people that no matter what size you are you can still dance the day away and rock it at the same time. I always remind my team to “put on a big cheesy smile on their faces” so that we can put a smile on others' faces who are not having such a great day and to show this great city how genuinely excited we are to be performing.

Since I started with this band, I've been able to work with so many talented individuals, had amazing experiences and have been able to create amazing friendships. I was born here in San Antonio and mi corazón will always reside with the rich traditions in this amazing city, but more specifically the south side.