Mariachi band performs in Flossmoor for National Heritage Month celebration

Juan Lucero, center, looks on proudly as he performs with his sons Miguel Lucero, left, and Antonio Lucero in the
band Cielito Lindo. (Nick Ulanowski / H-F Chronicle)

Cielito Lindo, a family Mariachi band from Chicago, performed inside Park Place at Flossmoor Park in Flossmoor on the evening of Thursday, Oct. 11, for an Hispanic Heritage Month celebration. 

Paper plates, ice cream sticks, scissors, markers, glue sticks and tape were laid out on a table for about an hour before the concert. A handful of kids crafted plates with sugar skull drawings, an imagery commonly associated with Day of the Dead.

Emma Figueroa, left, and her mother Adriana Figueroa
holding up the sugar skull plates they made before
the concert Oct. 11 at Park Place.
(Nick Ulanowski/H-F Chronicle)

Emma Figueroa, a Flossmoor resident and seventh grader at Parker Junior High, attended with her mother Adriana Figueroa. Both made sugar skull plates. Adrianna’s plate had colorful flowers with orange, green, blue and purple while her daughter’s skull plate was exclusively black-and-white with drawings of stars, flowers and swirls.

“It was a fun activity to have. I love that they went ahead and added it to today’s event and made it a whole evening of fun,” Adriana Figueroa said.

While Cielito Lindo was originally scheduled to perform outside, but because of the rain organizers made an adjustment and had them perform inside Park Place at 2523 Flossmoor Road.

“It was always going to be outside, but this was always our plan B. Everybody in events knows that you need a plan B and sometimes plan C,” said Stephanie Wright, program and events coordinator for the Village of Flossmoor. “It was fun to do this [event] with the park district.”

Standing in front of an unlit fireplace, two amplifiers and a guitar case, Cielito Lindo performed traditional Mexican music and some Cuban and Puerto Rican music. Juan Lucero, the band’s frontman, said that while Cielito Lindo mainly performs traditional Mexican songs, they wanted to acknowledge others who are celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month. 

Cielito Lindo is made up of Juan Lucero on guitar and his sons Miguel Lucero on trumpet and Antonio Lucero on vihuela. While there are other members of the band who are also Juan’s children, these were the three members on stage for the Flossmoor Park performance. Miguel, 20, and Antonio, 18, are both college students and have been playing in Cielito Lindo since they were about 5, 6 or 7 years old.

“I just love [music.] We’ve always had that inclination in our family, but it was our dad that got us started – practicing in our garage, just songs, little harmonies. And from there we expanded,” Miguel said.

All three members played their musical instruments throughout most of the set and frequently sang in unison. During their performance of the song “Viva Mexico,” audience members enthusiastically yelled “viva!” back to them each time the band said the song’s title “Viva Mexico.” At the end of the performance, Cielito Lindo asked the audience for requests and played a few of the requested songs.

About 30 people were in the audience. Throughout the setlist, audience members sang along, nodded their heads, cheered and clapped. Audience members sat listening intently and sometimes swayed back and forth to the music.

“We’re playing and singing along to these same songs that our grandparents and our great-grandparents sing to. So, I definitely feel that there’s almost a communion with people that are not even here anymore,” Juan said.

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