Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

Texas mariachi band performs

Building Mexican-American culture through music
Olivia Porter / Advance-Titan The Mariachi Ensemble from the University of Texas at Austin, Mariachi Paredes de Tejastitlán, finishes performing in the UW Oshkosh Music Hall on March 14.

The Flagship Mariachi Ensemble from the University of Texas at Austin, Mariachi Paredes de Tejastitlán, performed on March 13 at the UW Oshkosh Music Hall in the Arts and Communication Center. 

The Mariachi was founded in 1977 and named in honor of Américo Paredes, border studies, Mexican American studies, and the postmodern movement in anthropology. 

The Mariachi was founded by a group of graduate students in Paredes’s history of folklore survey class. José R. Torres-Ramos is now the director of Mariachi Paredes de Tejastitlán and a lecturer in musicology and ethnomusicology. Torres-Ramos said the focus is on studying history and music from different cultures. 

Juan García Oyervides, director of Chicana/o & Latinx studies and assistant professor of Spanish global languages and cultures, was the primary organizer for this event, although his colleagues helped. 

García Oyervides contacted colleagues to help create his Wisconsin Humanities Major Grant project. The University of Texas was able to send the Mariachi Paredes de Tejastitlán to Oshkosh to spread awareness for culture and the Wisconsin Humanities Major Grant.

Wisconsin Mariachi’s Academia Popular: Building Community Through Mexican American Cultural Appreciation offers students a $9,999 scholarship to the Chicana/o and Latinx studies program. 

Juan’s primary goal of this encounter was to involve students and the Oshkosh community.

“Celebrating [Mexican-American and Latino culture] under the umbrella of music,” he said. 

When García Oyervides started working for UWO, he noticed the growing population of Latinos and Mexican-Americans at the university and in the Oshkosh community. “Find and locate spaces to be with each other.” 

He went to Mexican restaurants in Oshkosh and Appleton to meet the employees and learn what interests them about Mexican-American culture and what they appreciate about their culture. 

“Now that I’m here, I want to know how I can help make this community stronger,” he said.

Daniela Velazquez Escobar is a sophomore at the University of Texas at Austin, double majoring in music education with a concentration in mariachi and a freshman in graphic design. 

She is also part of the Mariachi ensemble that came to Oshkosh; she spoke about what it means to be a part of the ensemble and how it has affected her life.

“It’s become part of who I am. I’ve learned so much from being in mariachi,” Escobar said. “I’ve also met some of my great friends through mariachi. It’s opened so many doors, given me so many opportunities, and has taken me to places I never thought I’d visit.”

“Just this semester, we’ve gone to neighboring cities around Austin, Mexico, and, most recently, Oshkosh,” Escobar said. “Trips like these allow us to learn more about the history of mariachi, experience the traditions the culture has as mariachi forms a great part of it, and better our technique and sound as musicians, individually and as a group.” 

Julia Chybowski, a UWO music professor and the department’s faculty representative, said that she hopes the performance left a positive note to UWO students.

“I hope that mariachi in the Music Hall sent the message that Chicano/a people are welcome here—this is your music department and your university,” Chybowski said. 

Chybowski said she was very excited to work with Oshkosh and was on board with the band traveling here.

“My colleagues and I in the music department welcomed the mariachi musicians from UT-Austin last week because we anticipated both educational and community-building potential,” she said.

Chybowski commented on the mariachi ensemble’s attendance outcome and hoped to see UWO expand to include more cultural events on campus. Most concert attendees were from Oshkosh and had never been to UWO’s campus or attended any productions.

“These events were supported by the University of Texas and external grant funding, but the extremely robust attendance at both the workshop and concert should signal to the UWO administration that there is interest and demand for similar programming,” she said. “Going forward, I hope there is more support for these types of interdisciplinary projects and the faculty members who pursue them.” 

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Advance-Titan Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest