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Mariachi Aztlán overcomes Zoom challenges to perform

Posted at 4:15 PM, Aug 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-30 01:49:13-04

TUCSON, Ariz. -- Virtual learning continues within the Tucson Unified School District, but not without its challenges.

Which means students have to be sharper than usual to adapt to the unforeseen challenges that come with using technology.

Pueblo High School’s Mariachi Aztlán is doing everything they can to not fall flat in class.

Cecilia Valenzuela is a senior at Pueblo High School and a member of Mariachi Aztlán.

“I didn’t think my senior year would look anything like this,” she told KGUN9.

She says their first zoom session would not have gotten a standing ovation.

“I just remember us being confused and like desperate to find a way to make this work. We tried playing, leaving our sound on and try to play that way with each other. That didn’t work,” Valenzuela added.

Mariachi Director John Contreras couldn’t agree more.

“Yeah it was a complete disaster. The lag obviously comes into play. The fact that not everybody has the same bandwidth, but we kind of found a way to get around it,” he said.

Parents also stepped up to buy advanced students microphones to help with sound during zoom sessions.

“I’ll put them in breakouts according to their instrumentation. Then I’ll obviously go in there to see if there are any questions,” said Contreras.

As far as recording songs, like true musicians they improvise.

“We all individually record our own parts and Mr. Contreras will put all of them together in one video. We’re just trying to look for ways to make this work,” said Valenzuela.

Contreras says he has never had a more positive group, and is confident they will have a great school year.

“I’m so lucky to have these students that are positive, and are hardworking, and are willing to deal with as much as I give them,” he told KGUN9.

“If we are virtual or in person, we are still Mariachi Aztlán and so we just try to keep the legacy,” Valenzuela told KGUN9.