LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The Las Vegas Valley is the heart of mariachi musical education.
Over 6,000 Clark County School District students at 40 schools take the class as an elective, making the program the largest in the nation.
Fernando Gonzalez teaches a mariachi class at Del Sol Academy and describes the area as an epicenter for mariachi education in the United States.
“It’s traditional music education, we’re just using mariachi as a vehicle,” Gonzalez said. “When we have events, we literally pack the house!”
The program is known as a way of bringing traditional Hispanic culture to thousands.
The two schools in the valley with thriving programs include Fremont Middle School and Del Sol Academy of the performing arts.
Albert Avila teaches the mariachi class at Fremont Middle School and describes the change he has seen in his students.
“I love it, I love hearing it, I love seeing the passion that they grow for it,” he expressed.
Yasleen Jaimes is a 7th grader and takes the course at Fremont Middle School.
“It feels good because we’re expressing our culture through songs and music and how we play,” Jaimes told 8 News Now. “The performances are amazing, you feel so good on stage!”
Joselyn Gutierrez is a junior at Del Sol Academy and describes what it is like to be part of the program.
“But more of excitement. Showing tradition, being up there, and singing,” she said.
The course not only reaches the community by highlighting the rich culture but creates a deep connection with the students who participate each and every day.
The 6,000 Las Vegas students will continue to share the familiar, joyous, and sentimental sounds of traditional mariachi music.
“We all put our hard work into it, once you get the song down, and you know, everyone harmonizes, it sounds good,” said Madeline Castro Cruz an 8th grader at Fremont Middle School.