On my way home from Orquesta GarDel last night, I stopped in at Durham's Immaculate Conception Church. It was just the right time to catch the last of the Mañanitas for the Virgin of Guadalupe, which went from midnight to 4 am. While I missed the mariachis (doh!), I was just in time to see a new addition to the celebration this year: banda, a thunderous brass, woodwind and percussion ensemble, derived from the tradition of military marching bands.
12.12. is a busy day for Mexican musicians, and Los Guanajuatenses told me they had already performed for a baptism earlier that day. After this 4 am set, they quickly departed the church by a side door, and headed home to Raleigh. Just enough time to rest up for the next gig--this afternoon, in Creedmoor.
Because the Virgin's day falls on a Sunday this year, the parade and procession today will be earlier than usual--3 pm--and will take a longer route through the Burch/Morehead Street neighborhoods. Anyone is welcome to come observe and/or walk with the procession, which is a mingling of parade floats, songs, dancers, and congregants from various folk traditions all over Mexico. It's a sight worth seeing. There's usually hot chocolate and sweet rolls or tamales at the church afterwards, and more indigenous dance groups. You'll find the church right at the Chapel Hill Road Exit 13, off Durham Freeway.