In Recess November 2021

A Band With an Identity Crisis

There's no "Loitering" for this Bexar County music group

Interview by Adam Faderewski

Loitering Band members taking a selfie
Loitering at the PET performs for Cinco de Mayo front row, from left: Guest tambourinist Judge Antonia “Toni” Arteaga, Dianne Garcia- Marquez, and Judge Nicole Garza; second row, from left: Juan Martinez, Sam Adams, and Thomas Guevara. Photo courtesy of Dianne Garcia-Marquez.

 

When Dianne "DeeDee" Garcia-Marquez joined Loitering at the PET as a vocalist in 2012, she was the first attorney to be part of the group that was formed of Bexar County employees. Garcia-Marquez, now general administrative counsel to Bexar County, would be joined by drummer Sam Adams, assistant city attorney for the San Antonio City Attorney’s Office, and vocalist Judge Nicole Garza, of the 37th Civil District Court of Bexar County. PET is an abbreviation for Paul Elizondo Tower (the Bexar County Justice Center), where most of the band members work. However, when Garza joined the band, she raised a very good point: there was little loitering going on by the members as they constantly pursued the administration of justice in Bexar County. Even though the band is still searching for a new name, it continues to play happy, upbeat sounds that get the audience singing and out to the dance floor. The Texas Bar Journal recently had the opportunity to interview Adams, Garcia-Marquez, and Garza via Zoom.

WHO ARE THE MEMBERS OF THE BAND AND WHAT INSTRUMENTS DO THEY PLAY?
Dianne Garcia-Marquez: We are the three lawyers in the band, but we do have other band members who are county officials. Mike Lozito is our lead guitarist and supports the county commissioners. John Diaz, assistant to the county manager, is our rhythm guitarist, and Tom Guevara, who is the chief of staff for the county manager, is our bass guitarist. Juan Martinez, with the pretrial services for the county, is our saxophone player, and Sam Adams, who is with the city attorney’s office in San Antonio, is on drums. Melissa Lucio is on keyboards and works for the county mental health department, and Nicole Garza, who is now Judge Garza, is our singer vocalist. I’m also the singer in the band and I do play acoustic guitar. Nicole also plays keyboards, and we both play tambourine and other instruments such as cowbell and triangle.

Loitering Band members taking a selfie
The band plays at the Mexican American Bar Association of San Antonio’s annual golf tournament. Photo courtesy of Dianne Garcia-Marquez.

 

WERE YOU INSTRUMENTAL IN INVITING SAM AND NICOLE INTO THE BAND?
Garcia-Marquez: Sam is a longtime member of the Beethoven Männerchor—they have the beer garden and the choir. I went there on a Tuesday night and Sam was hanging out. It just came up that Sam was looking for a band, and I casually mentioned that we were looking for a drummer. One day Nicole said, “We need to start a band.” I said, “I’m actually in a band. Do you want to join us?” Nicole and I used to sing harmony in the law library back in 1990.

Judge Nicole Garza: Occasionally, I play piano, but we don’t have piano. Really this keeps me sane. Our other jobs, our real jobs, are difficult, stressful. It’s my outlet. This group of people has been a touchstone, and it just keeps me sane. They’re good humans, and it’s just nice to be able to have a little bit of time during the week to gather. I remember one day when I was still in private practice, one of my plaintiffs passed away—it was a difficult day and I didn’t talk about it very much but was able to share it. It’s a space that is very valuable for me.

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR PAST EXPERIENCES MUSIC WISE BEFORE BEING MEMBERS OF THE BAND?
Garcia-Marquez: I haven’t played recently, but I do play guitar for St. Matthew Catholic Church, and I have done a lot of women’s retreats. I do enjoy playing for the children’s mass or playing at church, but I haven’t been able to go as much because of COVID-19. I’ve been playing in my church since I was 14 years old at St. Leonard. I started as a singer, and then I wanted to play guitar, so I’m kind of self-taught. I’m not the greatest guitar player, but I know how to memorize a lot of the rhythms of things.

Sam Adams: I got introduced to various instruments. I think my first one was the kazoo in elementary school, which was just a comb and some tissue paper—we hummed along with some music. I ended up studying a whole bunch of different instruments—trombone, the French horn, the piano—and was master of absolutely none of them. In college, I got into snare drumming because we had a bagpipe band and that got me interested in drumming. I was on a long hiatus, and then about 17 or 18 years ago, a buddy of mine and I were at the Beethoven, and we made a bet with another friend that we would play during Fiesta. She said, “Well if you guys do that I’m going to buy all your drinks for that day at Fiesta.” That was motivation enough. We formed our first band at that point, and I’ve been drumming ever since.

Garcia-Marquez: We’ve always wanted to play under the bridge at Fiesta—we hadn’t been invited. There’s usually a designated day hangout under the bridge and we take off for the day. There’s always a band playing.

Adams: My point of pride is when we started our first under- the-bridge Fiesta performance, we opened for a Michael Jackson impersonator, but the next year, that Michael Jackson impersonator opened for us. That was our measure of success.

Loitering Band members taking a selfie
The band plays at the Mexican American Bar Association of San Antonio’s annual golf tournament. Photo courtesy of Dianne Garcia-Marquez.

 

HOW OFTEN DO YOU PERFORM TOGETHER AND WHERE DO YOU USUALLY PLAY?
Garcia-Marquez: We have fun playing at the Beethoven with student parties and Mardi Gras. We also play the Mexican American Bar Association of San Antonio’s golf tournament, which raises a lot of money for charity.

DO YOU PLAY ORIGINAL MUSIC, COVERS, OR A MIXTURE OF BOTH?
Garcia-Marquez: All covers, but it’s everything from 1950s songs to contemporary music. Obviously, there’s a great tendency to play a lot of ’60s and ’70s music because that’s just the generation we come from. I know at one point, Thomas, our bass player, said, “We’re going to nix all the slow sad songs and just play happy upbeat ones.” We try to stick to that, and Nicole has brought a new variety of songs as well.

HOW DO YOU MANAGE YOUR JOBS AND YOUR SCHEDULES WITH THE TIME TO PERFORM AND PRACTICE?
Garcia-Marquez: Nicole has been offering her home lately, and it has a big area to practice.
Adams: We try to practice once a week, and it’s a combination of community service and occupational therapy for all of us.

Loitering Band members taking a selfie
The band plays at the Mexican American Bar Association of San Antonio’s annual golf tournament. Photo courtesy of Dianne Garcia-Marquez.

 

CAN YOU NAME A PARTICULAR PERFORMANCE THAT WOULD STAND OUT IN YOUR MIND AND WHY THAT WOULD BE MEMORABLE FOR YOU?
Garcia-Marquez: We all really like the ones at the Beethoven, with their Mardi Gras in February. Everyone had all their costumes—Nicole and I were Minnie Mouse.

WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IS YOUR FAVORITE PART ABOUT PERFORMING?
Adams: For me, a live performance because you’re in the moment and you’re reacting to your other players and other singers and you’re also feeding off the audience. You’re seeing how they’re reacting, and it’s a real high when you see folks enjoying the music that all of you are putting together and dancing to it. TBJ

 

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