Eloy Garza is the director of the mariachi program at Roma Independent School District in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley. He’s also musical director for Roma High School Mariachi. When the pandemic hit Texas last spring, he didn’t want his students to think playing music together would end. His solution was to have members record themselves for videos he would post on social media.
To his surprise, the videos went viral, and that got the attention of Latino Inaugural 2021, a pre-Inauguration Day television special. Organizers asked Garza to put together a video performance of “This Land Is Your Land” for the broadcast. They had four days to turn it around!
“We needed something. And then when I give them the news, their eyes – [they] just glowed with with joy. And I think because of that, they were so hungry. And said, ‘You know what? We’re going to do this.'”
Garza had to come up with his own, unique arrangement of the song.
“So I had to first come [up] with the arrangement, and the adaptation of it. By that night, I was not satisfied. So I went to bed, I say a prayer. By the morning, I woke up and I had the arrangement in my mind, I was like, ‘Yes! Thank you. Thank you, Jesus!’ So I got to work.”
Garza added some Spanish-language verses to his arrangement.