The Arizona Senior Academy will close out its 2016 concert year with a lively Mariachi Christmas Show on Tuesday (Dec. 20) at 7:30 p.m.
Mariachi Aztlan de Pueblo High School won our hearts when they performed for us this past May. They promise another opportunity for audience interaction as they play and sing authentic mariachi tunes along with Christmas music served up mariachi style.
The student ensemble was founded in the fall of 1992 within the Pueblo High School Magnet Performing Arts department by Richard Carranza. Since 2002, the group has been led by John Contreras, a mariachi musician with over 30 years of experience.
Mariachi Aztlan is the “first team” of the school’s mariachi program. Students are accepted by audition, and must maintain a high level of academic achievement and commit to an extensive practice and performance schedule. They all sing and play a variety of instruments including violins, guitars, harp and trumpets.
Dressed in their elaborate traje de charro outfits, with “Mariachi Aztlán” emblazoned on their neckerchiefs, the ensemble performs songs in the style of rancheros, huapangos and son huasteco. As Tucson’s most popular youth mariachi group, they are motivated by pride and dedication to the cultural heritage of Mexico.
With roots in rural Mexico, modern mariachi developed in the 20th century as the music was transformed from a rural folk music to an urban phenomenon that came to represent Mexico. Most songs are about machismo, love, betrayal, death, politics, revolutionary heroes and even animals and country life. The energetic dance rhythms, vocal harmonies and solos, will draw you into the mariachi spirit.
Written by Leslie Nitzberg, Academy Village Volunteer