Local Mariachi director a semifinalist for 2022 Music Educator Award

Local News

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A local mariachi director is a semifinalist for the 2022 Music Educator Award. This is given out by the Recording Academy and Grammy Museum.

8NewsNow stopped by a Mariachi Joya rehearsal at Las Vegas High School, to talk to director Stephen Blanco.

“We want to take this thing so seriously, to where we just want to put our focus and priority on texas,” Jessica Halili, junior, las vegas high school said.

Mariachi Joya is rehearsing for their debut performance at a major competition in Texas this December.
Leading the group is director Stephen Blanco.

“My philosophy in music and really in life is just that if you work hard good things are going to come,” Stephen Blanco, Director of Mariachi, las vegas high school said.

At 25-years-old, Blanco is a semifinalist for the national music educator award.

“It’s a huge honor. I’m so happy for the exposure for las vegas high school and the mariachi program. The kids really deserve it,” Stephen Blanco, director of Mariachi, Las Vegas high school said.

Junior Jessica Halili has worked with Blanco since she was in middle school and says she’s proud to see he’s being recognized.

“If we’re tired of rehearsals he just picks us up so quickly and just how one person can energize a group so quickly and how he knows how much potential all of us have,” Halili added.

Blanco says Clark County is spearheading the growth of mariachi within schools. This year, Mariachi Joya performed at the presidential inauguration, and Hispanic heritage month celebrations in Washington, D.C.

“I’d like to think las vegas high school is really plummeting forward in making sure everybody knows ‘hey this is working. Our little mariachi experiment that we did here in Clark County School District,'” Blanco added.

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