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Posted on May 14, 2019

Students, teachers, eager to see mariachi program take off in Quincy

Part 3 of 3

In a corner of the choir room at Quincy High School, and shrouded in black, lies a big part of the future of music at QHS.
Black guitar bags contain shiny new vihuelas and guitarrones, to be used by the students of the future mariachi program at the school.
It’s still unknown when this will happen, but the fact that the instruments have been purchased shows the school district is serious about it.
Students at QHS, even those who will never pluck a note from the guitarrones or the vihuelas, applaud the district’s intent.
“I know there’s a lot of people especially the Hispanic culture that love to hear mariachi (music),” said Ivania Chavez, a senior and a member of the QHS Choir, “(They) go to Wenatchee for concerts and things like that, and I think we have the possibility to make that happen here.”
Chavez encouraged all students to join the mariachi program, not just those like herself who hail from a Hispanic background.
“Music brings a lot of opportunity. You meet new people, you create new life skills,” she said, adding that music helped her get out of her comfort zone.
Junior Litzy Rodriguez said she would join if given the chance. The novelty of it and the chance to learn “la guitarra” as she put it, makes the program attractive, she said.
Band member Anne Safe called the program “a great idea,” adding that the program would bring increased involvement from the students at the school.
“I know that when I go to ‘quinces,’” (KEEN-says) she said, referring to quinceañera parties, “they are playing mariachi music and everybody loves it.”
Choir director Kylie Youngren said that any opportunity for students to share and celebrate their culture is an opportunity to express themselves, “and that’s what we are here to do as musicians,” she said.
“Any growth in the music program, I’m happy for,” she said.
Eric Nelson, music teacher at George Elementary, had high praise for the idea.
“I love it,” he said. “I love the enthusiasm we as teachers have for it, not to mention that we have a great band instructor and a great choir instructor. We are just ready to go for it.”
Nelson described the future steps for the mariachi program in his school in George.
“We are gonna try to start implementing it early on, as recommended by Ramon Rivera of Mariachi Huenachi,” Nelson said. “He said, ‘get them started as soon as possible learning how to play strings,’ so once they are in junior high, we can get the kids moving toward a mariachi program. Hopefully we can follow on the footsteps of Ramon and his program.”

By Sebastian Moraga,