Some people come to Harvard knowing they will almost definitely attend classes. Some even come knowing they want to be Gov majors. Three years ago, Claudia I. García ’05 came with a more specific goal in mind.
“I knew that if there was one thing I could contribute to this campus, it was mariachi,” García says.
At her pre-frosh weekend, García went around the campus asking several groups whether they’d help her start a mariachi band. Her main selling point was that it would be the first of its kind at any Ivy League university. To Garcia’s delight, Mariachi Veritas was performing by Cinco de Mayo of her freshman year.
Since then, the members of Mariachi Veritas have amassed a collection of experiences that includes, among other things, meeting George Lopez and Queen Latifah.
“When I think of our class, I think this is one of the great success stories,” says Priscilla J. Orta ’05, a former band member. “Claudia wanted to do it and thought it was necessary, so she just went out there and did it.”
Band member Socrates R. Cruz ’06, for one, is grateful.
“I really enjoy playing mariachi music,” he says. “I flip out sometimes and turn into a rocking mariachi, complete with head-banging and guitar-grinding action.”
Other members of the band cite the important cultural function that Mariachi Veritas serves.
“We show that there’s more to mariachi than big hats, and that it’s a very rich musical tradition,” says Raphael A. Barcham ’08, who is one of the band’s newest members.
Citing the scores of guests at last year’s concert and the various local gigs the band lands, Garcia says that Mariachi Veritas has a growing fan base—with a good number of groupies.
As their November 6 concert approaches, the members of Mariachi Veritas are excited about their plans for the future.
“I think if Mexico formed some kind of Mariachi army, the country might start earning some real respect around the world,” Cruz says. “Basically because mariachis are bad-ass.”