With Mother’s Day quickly approaching, I sat down to talk to Debra Torres, director of the San Antonio-based Mariachi Flor de Jalisco, about her experiences over Mother’s Day weekend — the busiest time of the year for mariachis everywhere — and what she is doing to prepare for this year’s big weekend. Here’s the interview:
When does the Mother’s Day rush start for you?
Normally, we have a 36-hour weekend that starts around 9 or 10 am on Saturday (the day prior to Mother’s Day) and goes straight through to 9 or 10 pm on Sunday — Mother’s Day proper. But this year it will start on Friday, May 11 at the Serenata para las Madres concert, where we’ll be accompanying opening acts for the amazing Steeven Sandoval.
How do your fellow bandmembers entertain each other when you’re together for more than 36 hours straight?
With a little chisme, lots of great music, quick food runs to the gas station and lots of Whataburger. We also stop to take power naps in between.
What’s your favorite thing to order at Whataburger?
The #1 item on the menu — the Whataburger meal — with cheese, pickles and ketchup.
Do you wear the same outfit over that 36-hour period?
No. We’ll change blouses several times during that stint, and we’ll change trajes as well.
What is the most popular time slot that everyone wants during Mother’s Day weekend?
Saturday at midnight, and between 1-3 pm on Sunday. Everyone wants that Sunday time slot because that’s when people are out of church and ready for their barbeques.
Do you charge extra for these popular time slots?
No. I don’t believe in overcharging, but of course if they want a full hour instead of a five-song serenata, we’ll charge them for the full hour versus the price for a few songs.
What songs bring the most tears to mothers during your serenades?
A Timbiriche song called “Mamá,” the original version of which dates back to the early 1980s. A lot of people have never heard it before, but once I start singing it, mothers begin to weep. The song talks about how a child hides behind their mom when they’re little, and how their mother is their protector. It also talks about how we want our mothers around forever, and how, at the end of the day, we are really a reflection of them.
What is the most requested song for Mother’s Day?
A lot of people like “Hermoso Cariño.” And, of course, everyone wants to hear “Las Mañanitas.”
What is the strangest thing that’s ever happened to you during a serenade?
I remember when we showed up at someone’s house during the wee hours of the morning for a serenata and “Mom” wasn’t home. Oops! Where was she? We showed up, so we got paid, but no one knew where mom was or why she was out so late.
What do you enjoy most about Mother’s Day weekend?
That particular weekend is a lot of fun for our group, mainly because we all enjoy each other’s company. We do crazy things, like we’ll pull out our cell phones, call our moms, and do one massive serenade for all of them via cell phone, since we won’t be seeing them much on that weekend.
What do you enjoy least about Mother’s Day weekend?
People who call at the very last minute requesting a performance, say, within an hour. Last minute requests, along with road closures, are a real pain!!!
How do you feel when the weekend is all over?
EXHAUSTED! I never have a voice for at least three days after Mom’s Day, and I have to soak my feet in an ice bucket after the serenades are all over. But no matter how hard we work, I’m never really tired. The adrenaline rush we get from our audience keeps us going for the entire weekend. We love what we do – playing music and entertaining people!
What is most surprising to you around this time of year?
It always amazes me how many people are interested in serenatas. The tradition is alive and thriving, and it continues to be passed on from one generation to the next.
How will you prepare for this year’s jam-packed weekend?
We have some new music to learn for the Friday night concert, so we’re studying the written parts and setting up rehearsals. We are honored to be sharing the stage with Steeven Sandoval. We’re also making sure our trajes are clean and ready to wear, and we’re still lining up gigs for Saturday and Sunday. We’ll map out the entire route prior to the weekend, and put a schedule together so we can plan a safe and successful marathon.
Mariachi Flor de Jalisco will accompany award-winning Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza artists that include Kyle, Texas native Jizelle Rodríguez, Kamryn Ramírez from McAllen and Kassandra Juárez from Río Grande City, during the Serenata para las Madres concert on Friday, May 11 at the Charline McCombs Empire Theater. By popular demand, headliner Steeven Sandoval — “La Voz del Mariachi” — returns to San Antonio with a stage show that pays tribute to the century-old tradition of serenading our mothers during this season.
Tickets ($25.00-$85.00) for Serenata para las Madres are available at all Ticketmaster outlets, including the Majestic Theatre Box Office, online at or charge by phone at 800.745.3000. All tickets subject to applicable service charges and fees.
Serenata para las Madres is sponsored by H.E.B, United HealthCare and WellMed. Media partners include La Prensa newspaper, KEDA Radio and mariachimusic.com.