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“Mariachitos” take center stage at square

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Cinco de Mayo festivities feature San Marcos Mariachi Academy students

By Alonzo Garza
POST-REGISTER

Mariachi music is alive and well in Central Texas. If the recent performance by the San Marcos Mariachi Academy students is any indication of its future, the traditional mariachi music of Texas and Mexico has a bright future in Lockhart and the surrounding

areas.
If you missed the appearance of the “mini-mariachi” band or the “mariachitos” you missed a great show.
At least two of the band members were Lockhart residents. The students played and sang incredibly well. They were dressed in the traditional “traje de charro” or Jalisco, Mexico cowboy outfits. They were amazing performers and their professionalism was unrivaled.
The San Marcos Mariachi Academy students performed from 4-5 p.m. on Saturday, May 3. They were under the direction of Frank De Leon and Armida Medrano. De Leon introduced the group before their first number and then introduced each student as they performed their solo numbers.
The students included Monet Moreau, Myra Ehrlich, Iliana Medrano, Nicole Reyes, Robert Andrew Sanchez, Phillip Barrios, Ruben Prado, Andre Sanborn, Devyn Bullock and Calvin Medrano.
Mariachi music has come along way from its original roots as regional music by wandering groups in small towns around Jalisco, Mexico late in the 1700s. The original groups played mostly local or regional songs using a complex 6/8-meter.
Today, mariachi music has evolved into an acclaimed musical genre. In its modern form, a mariachi group must be able to play “sones” or instrumental pieces and polkas, waltzes, modern love ballads called “boleros” and Spanish country songs called “rancheras.”
A modern mariachi group must include a guitar, trumpets, violins, vihuela and quitarron.
Mariachi music became popular in Texas between the 1950s and 1960s with the influx of immigrants from central Mexico. The mariachi style and its music had become the national music of Mexico decades before from the 1930s through the 1950s.
It was in the 1970s and through the early part of the 21st century that the popularity of mariachi music among Hispanics and even non-Hispanics in Texas grew to what it is today.
Since the 1970s, mariachi music has been offered as a musical ensemble course in many universities, colleges and public schools across the United States.
Junior high and high school mariachi programs date back to the late 1970s in Austin San Antonio and numerous South Texas towns. Fort Worth and Houston school districts started their programs in the early 1980s with El Paso following their example in the late 1980s.
In 2000, Texas State University in San Marcos began its annual “La Feria del Mariachi” concert, which hosts mariachi groups from all over the state of Texas, including its own university mariachi ensemble.
The TSU event has expanded to include instructional seminars about instrumentation, stage presence and mariachi tradition for participants that include junior high and high school students.
The San Marcos Mariachi Academy included a second grader! Yes, mariachi music and its tradition are here to stay.
Viva mariachi music.
agarza@post-register.com

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