Heavenly moment: The Lucero family’s journey to performing at Wrigley Field
Halfway through the Lucero family’s rendition of the national anthem at the top of the left center field bleachers, Maya Lucero’s voice reverberated throughout the historic seats and walls of Wrigley Field.
“O’er the land of the free,” belted the 10-year-old, her voice carrying the note for four seconds before her six siblings and father joined her for the final line of the national anthem prior to Wednesday’s series finale against the Dodgers.
When they were finished, her father, Juan, had to take a moment to soak it all in.
“That’s incredible,” Juan Lucero said. “Honestly, I think that might be the one best point in the whole song is hearing that note resonate throughout the stadium. It’s a beautiful sound as a musician to hear that.”
Hearing his family’s voices echo through Wrigley Field may as well have been a faint sound just a year ago for Juan Lucero. Juan Lucero and his seven children — Diego (18), Miguel (17) Antonio (16), Carlos (14), Lilia (13), Maya (10) and Mateo (8) — double as a band and business, Cielito Lindo (beautiful heaven, in English) and make their livelihood through performing.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the Lucero Family, like countless other musicians and artists, were left without direction on how to make a living, on how to put food on the table.
They resorted to live streaming from the basement in their Andersonville home and other much smaller scale events, but that wasn’t enough. It didn’t provide the family with enough to live off of. So, Juan and his wife, Susy, took on other gigs to try and make ends meet.
“My wife got a part-time job, I also was working on and off with Uber,” Juan Lucero said.
But it wasn’t enough.
They still weren’t able to pay rent on their home and were trying anything to scrape by.
“At a few points, we were considering if we could or if we should continue or just switch all together,” Juan Lucero said. “We had to think about it.”
Things took a turn for the worse towards the beginning of 2021. The family fell behind six months on their rent and were facing eviction from their home at the end of January.
So, neighbor Bob Farster stepped in to help out the Lucero family and ask for help. He started a GoFundMe campaign that raised over $65,000. There was still some stress as the family worked to escape their situation.
“Even when that GoFundMe campaign happened, it was like it took a while for that to set in, for the stress even after the fact to wear out,” Juan Lucero said. “There was definitely a lot of stress involved in that on a daily basis, for sure.”
Eventually, though, the family was able to make their payments and are now starting to return to a sense of normalcy. Their Cinco de Mayo was jampacked with events, highlighted by the national anthem at Wrigley Field. They were also performing at Old Public Cantina in Lincoln Park before calling it a night.
“There’s more security now, because the traffic is picking up, our business is definitely picking up,” Juan Lucero said. “As a matter of fact, I would say, it almost feels like a normal May for us. It’s a pretty busy day.”
Even though it was a hectic Wednesday, Juan Lucero made sure to appreciate the family’s time at Wrigley Field just a little more.
“These are the types of things where it always takes a little longer to sink in,” Juan Lucero said. “You’re doing it and the enjoyment continues and keeps coming until months after.”