The Arizona Senior Academy will be treated to a performance of authentic mariachi music at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday (May 31) when Mariachi Aztlán de Pueblo High School takes the stage.
Mariachi Aztlán was founded in the fall of 1992 within the Pueblo High School Magnet Performing Arts department by Richard Carranza. Since 2002, the ensemble 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 audition for the 17 positions and must maintain a high level of academic achievement and commit to an extensive practice and performance schedule.
Through Mariachi Aztlán, students maintain a connection with their culture, or for those from a non-Latino background, discover a new artistic pathway.
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. One particularly famous song is “La Cucaracha” (The Cockroach).
Dressed in their elaborate traje de charro outfits, the Mariachi Aztlán group performs songs in the style of rancheros, huapangos and son huasteco. As Tucson’s most popular youth mariachi group, they have gained a reputation for excellence and have shared the stage with some of the world’s finest Mariachi ensembles.
Mariachi Aztlán has won or placed in many prestigious competitions throughout the U.S. including: Tucson International Mariachi Conference (1st place 2013, 2012, 2009 High School Category), Albuquerque Mariachi Espectacular (Best Spirited 2013, 2nd place High School Category 2014), Las Cruces International Mariachi Conference (1st place 2011, 2008), Disney’s Mariachi Showcase Orlando, FL (2nd place 2007).
Written by Leslie Nitzberg, Academy Village Volunteer