More Than Street Music

Jose Luis watched Andres* slowly withdraw into himself. The usually vibrant, social young man grew quieter over the weeks of mandated quarantine. With each new cancellation of something he loved, Andres grew more despondent. Mazatlán was feeling the effects of the virus sweeping globally, leaving adults unemployed and children and teens idle. For Andres, music classes brought him joy, honed a new skill, and was a place he could express his feelings.  Without music class, Andres struggled.  

One of the creative ways a group of men in Mazatlán were earning income was by performing Mexican street music. Together, they walked the streets in neighborhoods, playing energetic music for people in their homes and collected tips when they were given. Daily, the men walked and played right by Adres’ house. The first day they came, he rushed to the door, dreaming about playing music himself again. For those brief moments, when the men were loudly playing with abandon, Andres felt alive, and Jose Luis and Reyna, his Hope parents noticed.  

One afternoon, Jose Luis heard the street band in the distance and snuck out of the house to catch the leader. “I wanted to see if Andres would be able to join them in playing one song from our front porch,” explained Jose Luis. He got back home, Andres none the wiser, and waited expectantly alongside the young man for the band to arrive on their street. They stopped in front of the house, and cordially invited Andres to play his drums with the band, on what he now calls “the best day ever.” He played several songs alongside the band, drawing the attention of neighbors who came out on their balconies and cheered him on. It was a day he will never forget.

As he reminisced that evening with Jose Luis and Reyna, he confessed he felt tears welling up the entire time he played. “I held them back, though, because grown men don’t cry,” stated Andres.

Jose Luis looked at Andres seriously and corrected him, “Actually, Andres, men do cry, because men have feelings, too.”

It was an afternoon filled with more than music – it was Andres’ opportunity to express his feelings in his favorite way, remembering God sees him and knows what brings him joy. Andres playing alongside a street band reminded him even when he feels alone, or hopeless, he is fully known and deeply loved. 

*Names have been changed to protect the privacy of the children and teens we serve.