BY Vicky Brito
UTRGV’s Mariachi Aztlán spent Spring Break attending, performing and teaching at two national mariachi festivals.
The group was invited to teach workshops for 300 students from California, Nevada and Arizona at the University of San Diego on March 10 and 11 as part of the fifth annual Mariachi Showcase, which is part of the National City Chamber of Commerce’s Mariachi Festival.
“These students, ages elementary through high school and some college, were eager to participate. They were very focused and determined to learn new music and improve their technique on their instruments,” said Francisco Loera, director of Mariachi Aztlán. “Our Mariachi Aztlán students delivered an excellent workshop and were role models to the students.”
In addition to the workshops, Mariachi Aztlán performed for thousands at Pepper Park in National City as one of the two top performing guest artists.
Then, on March 17, Mariachi Aztlán, at the invitation of the Mariachi Heritage Foundation, taught workshops for 300 students at the Chicago Public Schools Mariachi Festival at the Benito Juarez Community Academy in Chicago.
“These performances in San Diego and Chicago were a wonderful opportunity for the mariachi students and for our university,” said Dr. Dahlia Guerra, UTRGV’s assistant vice president for public art and special projects. “Many of the students are following degree paths to be teachers. This trip gave the students experience teaching with students of different ages and environments.
“Mariachi Aztlán is representing UTRGV at major venues across the United States and promoting the culture and heritage of the Rio Grande Valley across America,” she said.
After conducting the workshops at the Chicago festival, Mariachi Aztlán was on hand to adjudicate a showcase of mariachi ensembles.
Mariachi Aztlán also performed that evening at the Auditorium Theater at Roosevelt University, where they accompanied Mexican singer Aida Cuevas and performed alongside the world renowned Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán,