¡Viva el Mariachi!

Derived from the French word “mariage” or “marriage”, Mariachis and their music are an essential building block of Mexican culture. The instruments come together as one and form the beautiful sound that is so distinctive compared to other genres of music. 

Since 2017, Mariachi instructor Mr. Robert Sabo has pieced the program together to allow students to learn and practice the art of mariachi music. 

While it started as just an after-school program, it has now become a full class period, along with two additional programs at Judson Middle School and Woodlake Hills Middle School. 

Mariachi is relatively new to Judson, however, it’s been present in American society for decades. 

According to New Mexico State University, Mariachi culture began hundreds of years ago during the colonization period. However, the traditional way of Mariachi as we know it began to emerge in western Mexico during the 1850s. 

Popularized in the 1930s, Mariachi music was made to tell stories. The genre typically draws emotions of happiness, romance, or rebellion to allow listeners to feel the passion within the lyrics.  

“During the fall concert last year, I saw the Mariachis perform and I was mesmerized. After that, I knew I had to join,” junior Eduardo Ulloa said. 

The group has already made multiple appearances this school year. From homecoming proposals to graduation performances, the Mariachis leave their mark wherever they go. Senior Anjolina Servin experienced this firsthand when her girlfriend staged a homecoming proposal featuring the Mariachis. 

“Seeing the Mariachi is very wholesome to me and I enjoy seeing them play, especially when I have a few people that mean a lot to me in there. I see how hard they work and they do have very talented kids there,” Servin said.

In addition, Mariachi is involved in a series of performances around Texas. While some are individual competitions, others are group performances that allow students to grow bonds amongst each other and create life lasting memories.

“The competitions are pretty casual and not as nerve wracking as many think. The trip itself is honestly the best part,” junior Ten Simons said. “We have lots of fun. For example, we usually do karaoke and play singing games. The trips help us come out of our shell and become comfortable with singing. The more we do it, the better we get.”  

The students are constantly learning, allowing them to grow together as a team. This isn’t just a Mariachi class, it’s a family. 

“We love each other so much and we have a good time while practicing and learning new songs. We make our music with love and it is for you– for everyone, and especially for the culture,” senior Salomé Valencia said. 

Besides granting students memories to think back on, this program has also opened doors for members that will allow them to continue developing. 

“Mariachi has given me new experiences in my life and opportunities. I get to sing competitively and I won a scholarship for college,” Valencia said. “Mariachi has given me things that I never thought I could have.”

Mr. Sabo explained that this program was made to allow students to learn the fundamental skills of becoming professional musicians, while also trying to master the technique of their instruments. 

“I really enjoy playing mariachi music, but learning to teach it has given me the opportunity to learn all the instruments in the mariachi, Sabo said. “I also love to see the students experience the joy of performing music for people and witnessing the way people react positively to it.” 

The Mariachi program inhabits a positive environment that helps students feel comfortable and safe. This is important for high school students because it gives them opportunities to grow social skills and network with other peers. 

“Mariachi has helped me become more confident and sociable which caused me to break out of my shell,” Ulloa said. This program is helping our community and it feels great to be a part of this,” Ulloa said.