The Mariachi Marineros
POSTED ON: Wednesday, February 15, 2023 8:45 AM by MC2 Sarah M. Thielen
The U.S. Naval Academy (USNA) offers more than 140 extracurricular activities and clubs. One of the newest musical ensembles available to midshipmen is the Mariachi Marineros consisting of midshipmen playing a genre of Latin-style music in a variety of performances.
Midshipmen 2nd Class (junior) Sebastian Moses and Eric Esqueda came up with the idea of a mariachi-style band during the spring semester of 2022. The two have played music together while at the academy and also come from the same hometown of El Paso, Texas.
“We thought it’d be fun to have something to really celebrate the Latino culture,” said Moses. “There’s something for everyone here.”
Most of the extracurriculars and clubs are run by midshipmen, with faculty and staff oversight and mentorship.
Aaron Smith, the director of musical activities at USNA, had been exploring the idea of a mariachi band for years, hoping the ensemble would start organically.
“At the start of the 2023 academic year, we heard that there were several midshipmen with previous experience in the genre interested in starting up a band,” said Smith. “After a couple of initial meetings and brainstorming sessions – in particular with Midshipmen Moses and Esqueda – it became apparent that this was the perfect year for the long-awaited launch.”
What started as a four-person ensemble quickly grew to 15 people.
“I think this is going to become a wildly popular ensemble,” Smith said. “So far, in just their inaugural year, they have performed at the sold-out Halloween/All-Saints concerts, toured with our gospel choir to Detroit, and joined our midshipman orchestra in a formal concert. This spring involves performances both here at the academy and off the yard. I could not be more excited for their future.”
From the first moments of the initial rehearsal, the team knew this was going to be spectacular.
“The ensemble sounds amazing,” said Smith. “The spirit of each and every midshipman participant is intoxicating. They have achieved, in very little time, something magical and special. I am beyond thrilled that we are able to add this incredible and important group to our instrumental ensembles.”
With aspirations to take the ensemble closer to their hometown, or even to Mexico someday, Moses is excited that the academy has its first mariachi band.
“I'm very proud of the group as a whole and how far we've come in the short amount of time that we've been playing,” said Moses. “These are some of my best friends at the academy, and that happened over the course of one semester because of all of the time we’ve spent together.”
Within the music department, there are eleven major ensembles, choral and instrumental, that midshipmen have the opportunity to participate in. The Mariachi Marineros now joins the list as one of the newest activities offered at the academy.Information about the ensemble, including upcoming performances, will be on the USNA website at www.usna.edu/music following the completion of current updates. In the meantime, you can view one of their recent performances at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MGLGHWyB7dQ.