Cal Lu student and “Coco” violinist create Mariachi Club

“Mariachi is a collection of so many different influences from around the world, from African to German. There’s so many different elements that influence the music. It’s like a melting pot of so many different cultures, just like many other styles of music,” said Mariachi Club adviser and professional violinist Rocio Marron.

She performed a violin solo in the Pixar film “Coco” and will teach a mariachi class at California Lutheran University in the fall. The class will require an audition. The class is looking for players with experience and enthusiasm.

Mariachi Club President Valeria Garcia said, “The music department showed interest in bringing in mariachi. It’s had a lot of support. The new dean has been pushing for it.”

Garcia said her professors knew about her background with mariachi, which is why the music department helped her build the program. She also started a mariachi program at her high school.

Garcia said some of the club members are local high school students, one of whom has been accepted to Cal Lutheran. Garcia  said she hopes the student will accept and join the mariachi program.

Marron said that she founded the mariachi program at University of Southern California when she was a student. After graduating, she was recruited to play with the Mariachi Divas.

“I grew up listening to mariachi music. I always had such an appreciation for the music. It was always playing in our house,” Marron said.

Garcia said that Marron is in charge of the club with most of the leadership responsibilities, but she helps her with teaching and leading. She also said that she has mariachi training and Marron has classical training; they balance and complement each other as leaders because of that.

“Music is really my true passion, but I feel that a future in music would be very, very difficult and I personally do not want to be a teacher,” Garcia said, majoring in biochemistry and molecular biology and minoring in music.

Garcia said that mariachi includes trumpet, violin, guitarrón, vihuela and guitar. She plays all of them except for trumpet, and she sings as well.

Junior Oscar Alvarez is a guitarist in the club and he said, “Even if you don’t know how to play an instrument, it’s always awesome to just listen to the music.”

Alvarez said that he listened to mariachi music when his family played it at home, but listened to it for himself upon joining the club, which started hosting meetings two weeks ago.

“There are some students right now that don’t even play any instruments. They’re just wanting to come and learn because it’s part of their culture and their heritage,” Marron said.

Alvarez said that Marron has been cooperating with him since he is a beginner to mariachi music.

In the Mariachi Club, Marron said that there are many Latino students and that the music can be a place for them to relate with others.

“I want them to enjoy the music that I enjoy. I hope to spread some sort of mariachi-loving virus and that people grow to appreciate the music,” Garcia said.

However, not everyone in the club is Hispanic, which means the club shares Hispanic culture with diverse students. Garcia said that, with all of the singing and lyrics in mariachi music, non-Spanish speaking students “are essentially learning Spanish.”

“I believe mariachi can introduce people to Hispanic culture and Hispanic music just through listening to it,” Alvarez said.

Rissa Gross