Yesterday morning, I was invited to play with the UT mariachi and conjunto ensembles at the unveiling of a monument on the grounds of the state capital in Austin, TX. It was a crazy day. I had a total of 4 gigs between the two ensembles, and spent a lot of time running around and changing in between sets. It was exhausting. So much so that I just came home last night and slept until noon. But, I had a lot of fun being part of such an event, and really enjoyed playing traditional music for such a large and enthusiastic audience.
I first performed with the conjunto ensemble, and had the opportunity to sing and play bajo sexto. We did great, and I was really proud of how we sounded together. Immediately after, I had to try and throw on my mariachi traje, and run over to the other side of the area to join that band. I was throwing gritos, singing, and contributing guitar to this group. After we warmed up the crowd, we hung around to play some patriotic music (in our own style) for the ceremonies.
Once the dedication was finished, we had two other gigs throughout the city for potential patrons and donors to the UT mariachi program. Although I will be graduating this Spring, I think that our efforts will make a difference for future generations of longhorn musicians, as the room was buzzing with talk of several thousands of dollars being donated and generated for our struggling program.
People often ask me what the importance of music is. Had you been able to attend the tejano monument unveiling, perhaps you would not need to ask. The sense of pride that you could see in the peoples eyes made every note sound that much sweeter. It was a great day.
You can see me here at the 0:38 mark: