ACTA Organizes 28th Annual ¡Viva el Mariachi! Festival Workshops

ACTA - Posted on 07 April 2011

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Students at the 28th annual Viva el Mariachi! Festival Workshops This year, Radio Bilingüe and the Alliance for California Traditional Arts partnered to organize the 28th annual ¡Viva el Mariachi! Festival Workshops.  More than 350 mariachi students from throughout California traveled to the city of Selma on Saturday, March 5, 2011, to learn, share, and enjoy mariachi music.

Children, youth, and adults came together to learn new skills and techniques from Nati Cano and his Mariachi Los Camperos.  Mariachi Los Camperos has received national acclaim for the quality of their music, performing throughout the United States and Canada.  They have accompanied many famous vocalists, including Linda Ronstadt.  Nati Cano of Los Camperos is a third-generation musician and a National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellow who has worked to promote and preserve the cultural traditions of mariachi music for more than 40 years.  He has taught Radio Bilingüe’s ¡Viva el Mariachi! Workshops for more than a decade, inspiring youth and adults to keep this cultural tradition alive.

In addition to learning from this renowned mariachi ensemble, this year’s participants also had the opportunity to meet a new generation of musicians, Los Tesoros de San Fernando and Mariachi Chula Vista.  Both groups are composed of youth who, despite their young age, have achieved a great level of proficiency in the mariachi music, under the direction of their respective directors, Jesus “Chuy” Guzman and Mark Fogelquist. 

Students at the 28th annual Viva el Mariachi! Festival Workshops.Like in previous years, participants were instructed at their level including beginning, intermediate and advanced.  To offer high quality instruction, beginning students received instruction by instruments for at least half of the day, then practiced as an ensemble under the direction of professor Juan Morales, a former member of Mariachi Los Camperos and Mariachi Sol de México and a well-known music teacher in the Central Valley.

It is important to highlight that the ¡Viva el Mariachi! Festival Workshops are one of the first to be organized in the state of California and are still considered among the best state-wide.  As one observer, Araceli Varela of Hayward expressed: “It was by far, one of the most enriching experiences my husband and daughter have shared and I'm sure the memories will be everlasting.”

ACTA's Comment Disclaimer

Hi my name is Veronica and I’m in mariachi. On Saturday March 5, we, as in the mariachi group from Curran Middle School, went to Selma on a field trip to a workshop that was just about performing mariachi music. Whatever instrument you play in mariachi, that’s what we got instruction on. My instrument was voice, so they took me to the library where all singers were practicing. The teacher, Mr. Morales, was telling us how our voice works. Then he started playing the recording Te Vas Por Un Momento and we had to sing along with it, but then came the scary part; he would ask us if we wanted to sing solo. All day he would play different songs and ask if we wanted to sing. My friend, Jennifer, and I went up in front of the class and sang the song Sigues Siendo El Mismo.  After lunch we had twenty minutes to practice our six songs and then go to play with the violins, guitars, and trumpets – with everybody. When we went to the gym we practiced almost two hours. All total, we played over five hours that day.  The next day we went to the Selend Arena in Fresno for a concert to perform.  It was really cool.  There were a lot of people and we were on television.  It was awesome and really I enjoyed this field trip very much. – Veronica

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