It’s a cold December around 4 in the morning, she’s getting dressed on one of the most important days of her life. She unbuttoned the golden buttons on her uniform jacket and fastened her belt around her slacks. As she’s getting dressed she looks in the mirror and sees a beautiful reflection. Although her palms are a little sweaty, she is very excited about the busy day ahead of her. She grabs her vihuela and secures it in her case as she heads out the door, prepared for what’s to come next. Senior Sarai Quezada pursues her passion for music with her participation in Mariachi Santa Maria and Mariachi Imperial Azteca.
Since she was a little girl she could remember her older siblings playing in Mariachi bands which influenced her to play at three years old. Her earliest memory was when her sister played for one weekend out of town and they took a road trip to Wisconsin. She recounts being on a bus, singing and dancing all night long. Although it’s something she gets paid for, it has never felt like a job. The people she plays with makes her feel welcome and have become a family to her.
“I enjoy playing because it is something I grew up with,” says Quezada. “I feel as if I learn something new everyday and have fun while also working.
Her role in her bands are singing and playing an instrument called vihuela, which is a Spanish string instrument. They usually practice eight hours a week at a selected member’s house. During that time they spend together they eat pozole and indulge in the sweet goodness of tres leches cake. Her favorite moment was when they shared new songs with each other around a bond fire consuming s’mores and milk.
For mariachi bands, December 12 is their biggest day performance wise which is Quezada’s favorite. That day Mexicans celebrate their lady of Guadalupe and mariachis get contracted the entire day.
“The best performances are when the crowd is very active and participates. I get a rush when I can tell that people appreciate what we do,” says Quezada.