La cama de piedra.
It’s another Saturday night where I am home, resting from another mariachi performance. I’ve been doing this very same routine for the past four years since Mariachi Espuela de Plata started in May 2003.
We started as twelve members; five violin players (Juan, Angie A., Angie P., Vanessa, and Gladys), three trumpet players (JJ, Eddie, and Cuauhtemoc [Temo]), a guitarrón player (Edgar), two vihuela players (Thomas and Cristina) and a guitar player (me). A lot has changed since then; our musical and performance skills have grown exponentially, and we’ve matured from a bunch of pubescent, immature fourteen- and thirteen-year-olds into a collection of intelligent, mature high school graduates (except for our current guitarrón player).
We went from twelve to eight members; Vanessa was the first person to leave because she moved to Palmdale in August 2004. Temo left our mariachi sometime in late 2004/early 2005 because he wanted to pursue a career as a banda/norteño singer; so far, it’s gone good for him. He completed high school and his career has grown a bit; he recorded a CD and has performed a few times throughout the area. We kicked out Edgar, our former guitarrón player, at my house in February 2005 because he had plans to leave our mariachi and we felt it was better if we replaced him as soon as possible as with whom we wanted.
Angie P. was kicked out in April 2005 because she was a horrible violin player who had not improved one bit since the beginning of the mariachi two years. It was very hard to kick her out because not enough people could make up their mind on kicking her out; Eddie, JJ and I were set on kicking her out, while Gladys, Cristina, and Thomas were set on keeping her. The final two votes came down to Juan and Angie A. (her best friend at that time), both violin players. After some debate, Juan finally voted to kick her out, leaving the deciding vote on Angie A.’s lap. After about another hour of debate and asking her to make up her mind, Angie A. made up her mind and decided to kick Angie P. out. Angie P. stormed out of Angie A.’s house and ended her friendship with Angie A. To this day, I don’t think they speak to each other. In retaliation for Angie P.’s firing, Gladys left our mariachi that day.
That day, our mariachi went to seven members. No guitarrón player and without Gladys’ strong singing voice. I hated our mariachi then because we sounded weak without her voice and a guitarrón player. José, our current guitarrón player, joined our mariachi at the beginning of May 2005 and quickly adapted to our style. We were eight strong, but I felt our sound was incomplete without Gladys’ voice. Thankfully, Gladys rejoined our mariachi last year and completed our sound. Cristina was kicked out in October 2006 because she put her job over mariachi; she was no longer reliable and had to go.
Today, we were eight strong at the marriage mass and reception. It was our last performance as eight members. People are leaving to college and others are going to get jobs and settle down. In my opinion, Mariachi Espuela de Plata will no longer be what it once was. Though we are a good mariachi, a pretty good one and have some more performances throughout this month, we are pretty much done.
I’m sad, to say the least. I will really miss my fellow mariachi members, especially JJ, José, Gladys, Juan and Thomas. I always got along with them more and they really are my closest friends. I love each and every one of them and I want to keep in touch with them. I know it’s going to be hard, but I know that mariachi music will always join us together.
When I look back on high school, my mind will think back on mariachi; it was my main extracurricular activity, hobby and source of happiness. Mariachi kept me grounded and happy; while others went out to the cinema or amusement parks, I had mariachi performances. It was some of the most exciting times I spent in all of high school.
The title of this blog entry comes from Cuco Sánchez’ song “La cama de piedra“.