Mariachi Estrella makes history at halftime

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Mariachi Estrella gave fans at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium a stunning performance.

“I know we were all very excited to be able to represent our culture in front of such a large crowd,” said Claudia Banda, violinist and backing vocalist of Mariachi Estrella.

Not only did the mariachi band perform in front of a large crowd, it was the first time spectators saw a mariachi band perform for the first time in history from GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium.

“Well, every time we got the call it was like a normal gig, like a regular performance, they were like hey you wanna play for an hour, they didn’t say who they were, next thing you know, I get an email from the chefs saying, ‘Hey, we’ve got you booked on the 26th,’ ”said Jesse Perez, co-owner of Mariachi Estrella.

In addition to making history at the stadium, the group’s violinist and singers broke barriers as women in the group.

“Mariachi is a very masculine environment. Traditionally there were only male singers, male musicians and now, as we entered a more contemporary world, women in mariachi have been celebrated, ”Banda said.

“We have to work twice as hard as a man to be a part of this group or any group in general. So I’m extremely honored to wear my costume, I wear it proudly honestly, so be there for me, it’s an honor, ”said singer and violinist Stéphanie Franco.

Members of the group said nerves began to show during the preparation for the show.

“Too nervous, too nervous but excited,” said co-owner Rafael Ornelas.

However, members of Mariachi Estrella said the nerves were quickly gone and they realized their role was far more important than going out in their charro costumes, instruments in hand and putting on a show.

“We had a lot of weight on our shoulders being Hispanic and coming from – some of us being born here in the United States and being Chicanas, for our parents that is also a huge accomplishment,” Franco said.

“I came from Chihuahua, Parral, the town over there, and I came here when I was nine months old and I grew up here, and now I play for the Chiefs. So I am honored and grateful, ”said guitarist Luis A. Portillo.

Now that Mariachi Estrella can cross the performance off their bucket list, they hope fans in Kansas City and beyond continue to enjoy the sound of music and culture.

“Being able to embrace our culture in this society without reprimands is a great honor, and that so many people appreciate it outside of our culture fills our hearts,” Banda noted.

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