Posted on: February 27, 2020 Posted by: Glacier Staff Comments: 0

By Yaritza Porras

JRN-111 Student

A diverse crowd packed the Dorothy Menker Theater Saturday for a goose bump-inducing performance by the Latin Grammy-nominated Mariachi Herencia de Mexico.

Mariachi Herencia de Mexico is made up of 16 young and talented Chicago students who are proud of their roots. This mariachi group started with five different schools in Chicago and then extended through citywide auditions for anyone who wanted to join. Mariachi Herencia de Mexico is a well-known mariachi band in Chicago, especially after their album “Nuestra Herencia” (Our Heritage) was nominated for a Latin Grammy in 2017.

“I’ve actually always liked mariachi music since I was little, because I grew up with it,” said Karla De la Cerda, 16, a member of Mariachi Herencia de Mexico. De la Cerda started playing the violin at the age of 13. Managing school and being in a mariachi band is not easy for these young students, but they work hard to be on top of their grades and performances. 

“This performance is something you can’t experience at home,” said Tommy Hensel, managing director of MVCC Fine & Performing Arts Center.

Hensel has been working at Moraine Valley since 2008. He is in charge of booking all performances for the Fine & Performing Arts Center. Hensel had already seen Mariachi Herencia de Mexico perform. He mentioned that this isn’t the first time a mariachi band has performed at Moraine. His goal when booking the performances is to do more things that tie into all the roots of people who live in this area. 

“I’m trying to find important shows that talk about important issues, not just cultural things,” he said.

The curtains opened slowly as the group played its first piece, “El Son de la Negra,” a classic mariachi song composed in late 1800s. The crowd began cheering and clapping as soon as they heard the second national anthem of Mexico, “El Son de la Negra.” The audience was made up of different ethnicities excited for the performance just like the Mexicans in the audience. 

“What’ve I’ve seen so far is wonderful,” said event volunteer Mary Fitzpatrick, who sang along to some of the songs in English. “It’s beautiful. I’m sure they put in a lot of hard work.” 

The members of Mariachi Herencia de Mexico put up a unique show. It’s not just about getting on stage and playing. They used props, showed music videos, danced, involved the audience and even got off stage to sing to the crowd closer. They introduced themselves and their songs in both Spanish and English. They made everyone in the audience able to connect to their music. Songs from the famous musical “Grease” were also included in the performance. 

They dedicated a song to all immigrants that came to the United States for a better future, called “Los Mandados.” This song tells a story about a man crossing all the borders many times, getting caught, but never giving up in his goal of coming to the United States for a better life for him and his family. When the song was over you heard “Viva Mexico” from some audience members. They were touched by this song that tells a story many of them had lived. 

Mariachi Herencia de Mexico ended their performance with the famous song “Cielito Lindo.” They came out again after hearing the crowd chant for another song. 

To not leave the crowd hanging, they ended by performing mariachi classics that made everyone in the theater come together and sing along. The audience was so pleased by the performance that they dismissed these young musicians with a standing ovation.

At the end of the performances, the Mariachi’s latest album “Esencia” was sold at the entrance for the audience to take home a bit of their music. People crowded in the entrance while waiting to take their picture and congratulate the members of Mariachi Herencia de Mexico. 

This event brought people from different ethnicities together, even inspiring the younger audience. 

“I want to learn how to play the violin,” said a little girl in the audience to her mother.