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Posted on Mar 25, 2019

Mariachi program could be a game-changer for Quincy youth

A nationally acclaimed program might one day start belting out songs from Quincy, if Ramon Rivera’s dream comes true.
Rivera, director of Wenatchee High School’s Mariachi Huenachi program of Mexican folk music, has shared his passion with educators in the Quincy School District who want to see Mariachi Huenachi’s success replicated 35 minutes to the east.
“This would be a perfect match for the community of Quincy,” Rivera said, adding that a program like a mariachi (ma-ree-ATCH-ee) music program would help students feel more connected to their schools. Athletics already do that, Rivera added, but not every child likes to swing a bat or kick a ball.
“They want to be musicians,” he said.

Mariachi Huenachi is a nationally acclaimed, award-winning troupe of young performers of Mexican folk music.
Submitted photo

The Quincy School District has already shown a willingness to take on the task of building a mariachi program in Quincy, holding workshops taught by Rivera, with the music teachers in the district last summer. The district has also pledged to purchase guitarrones (guitar-RON-iss) and vihuelas (vee-WELL-us) two of the traditional instruments of a mariachi band.
The next step is to mentor the teachers so they can copy what Mariachi Huenachi has built, with hundreds of Wenatchee students involved, districtwide. It will take bravery to teach this material, Rivera said, since it’s out of their comfort zone.
The results, though, are second to none.
“This program gives kids hope, to dream big,” he said. “With music, it’s limitless where we can go.”
Mariachi Huenachi has performed all around the nation, including the White House, and performed alongside greats of music from both sides of the Rio Grande, Ramon Ayala, Marco Antonio Solis and Garth Brooks, among them.
Grupera (groo-PERR-uh) music superstar Ana Barbara is next, coming to Wenatchee at the end of the month. Mariachi Huenachi will perform then as well, during a mariachi festival on the day of the concert.
Members and former members of Mariachi Huenachi have excelled offstage as well, with alumni from the group going on to earn college degrees and doctorates, Rivera said.
“All these opportunities happen because of the power of music, and a community like Quincy needs it,” he said. “Especially with your new high school, you will have a new music department and a new auditorium, and what a great way to connect the families and the communities to your school than by having a mariachi program in your school.”

By Sebastian Moraga,