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Almost as Old as Stones?

Mariachi bands have violins and sombreros. Norteño bands dress like cowboys and use accordions. Bandas are big (14--18 players), brassy Mexican dance bands. There are about 15 bandas in Tijuana, but only 1 performs regularly in San Diego.

"Work visas are getting harder and harder to get," says conga player Luciano Hermosillo of Banda Santo Tomás. "We are the only [Tijuana] banda that can play in San Diego."

Four of the 16 members in his band live in San Diego; the other 12 live in Tijuana. Banda Santo Tomás is named after the trumpet player and singer who has run the show for 40 years.

"People only leave when they join a better band," says Hermosillo. "We never fire anybody. The person who is leaving or the band owner looks for a replacement."

Banda Santo Tomás has three clarinets, four trumpets, two trombones, one timbale, a bass, tuba, congas, and two singers. Because of the large payroll, most of Hermosillo's bandmates have day jobs. Are there any other difficulties the band must work around?

"You have 16 different minds. We never fight onstage, but when you get home, yeah, it happens."

Banda Santo Tomás has released six CDs and played in Chicago, Miami, and New York. They appear on Fridays at Mar y Sol in Chula Vista ($15 cover) and Sundays at El Kora in Spring Valley (free admission).

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Mariachi bands have violins and sombreros. Norteño bands dress like cowboys and use accordions. Bandas are big (14--18 players), brassy Mexican dance bands. There are about 15 bandas in Tijuana, but only 1 performs regularly in San Diego.

"Work visas are getting harder and harder to get," says conga player Luciano Hermosillo of Banda Santo Tomás. "We are the only [Tijuana] banda that can play in San Diego."

Four of the 16 members in his band live in San Diego; the other 12 live in Tijuana. Banda Santo Tomás is named after the trumpet player and singer who has run the show for 40 years.

"People only leave when they join a better band," says Hermosillo. "We never fire anybody. The person who is leaving or the band owner looks for a replacement."

Banda Santo Tomás has three clarinets, four trumpets, two trombones, one timbale, a bass, tuba, congas, and two singers. Because of the large payroll, most of Hermosillo's bandmates have day jobs. Are there any other difficulties the band must work around?

"You have 16 different minds. We never fight onstage, but when you get home, yeah, it happens."

Banda Santo Tomás has released six CDs and played in Chicago, Miami, and New York. They appear on Fridays at Mar y Sol in Chula Vista ($15 cover) and Sundays at El Kora in Spring Valley (free admission).

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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