Mariachi Gary tienen hambre para mas- that's Spanish for they are hungry for more! My students are kind, intelligent, beautiful souls with potential to inspire the world for positive change through mariachi music. Our elementary school is the only Chicago Public School in the Little Village neighborhood (also known as little México) with a mariachi music education program.
Our school serves one of the most vulnerable communities- recent immigrants from México in search for an opportunity to give their sons and daughters a future unattainable in our homeland.
Students qualify for free or reduced lunch as 97% are raised in low-income families and 47% of them have limited English skills.
As their teacher who was once an undocumented immigrant in the U.S and a former Chicago Public School student, I strive to instill hope through a music education to make opportunities, like college, possible in the future. My music education allowed me to attain a scholarship from Lawrence University, all because I kept my grades up, was Latino and had been playing trumpet for 7 years.
The donations to this project will provide my students with authentic instruments that complete the mariachi ensemble sound. Currently, my students only have access to a handful of acoustic guitars as a stand in for the traditional instruments. In a standard mariachi ensemble, the folkloric instruments guitarron & vihuela are what define this style of Mexican folkloric music. When combining these folkloric instruments with voice, trumpet, and violin, my students will truly sound like a traditional mariachi ensemble. For my students, learning with these instruments is important to their culture, and crucial to their understanding of the Mariachi music.
By learning to play the vihuela and guitarron, my students will expand their knowledge of mariachi harmony, challenging them to learn new chords, read in bass clef, and most importantly, begin to learn how to drive their mariachi ensemble through these important rhythmic instruments.
According to Smithsonian Institute - Folkways: “Mexican mariachi music is made to move you. It is direct, driving, and designed to instill emotion. Mariachi means a certain repertoire of music, a special grouping of instruments, and a distinctive style of singing that create an unmistakable sound unique in the world. It has special meaning for many Mexican Americans as an emblem of their cultural heritage and a source of pride and community connections.” Access to these instruments will give us more opportunities to connect with our community. By performing a specific song, we can either make our audience reminisce about our homeland, pay homage to a lost one, or instill hope during time of uncertainty. The guitarron and vihuela are imperative in order to accomplish this goal for my students. They will teach them about this beautiful music and retain traditions that truly define us as Mexican Americans.
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