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Teaching the next generation of mariachis

Mariachi Aztlan.jpg
Posted at 5:02 AM, Oct 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-06 08:04:21-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Growing closure to your culture through music, that’s what one group of Tucson students is doing.

The sound of regional Mexican music fills somebody's Mariachi Aztlan classroom, providing students with a unique opportunity to get closer to their culture.

“It’s definitely family. Mariachi is family to me,” said Rylie Fernandez, senior.

“Just like being in mariachi. It helps me have confidence and just explore my background as a Mexican," said Giselle Gomez, junior.

Teaching the next generation of mariachi at Pueblo High School is John Contreras.

“19 years I've been doing this here. I would have to say probably a couple hundred, 500 maybe 3,000 kids that can come through our program," said Contreras.

He said he knows he's teaching more than notes and lyrics what

“I really am trying to do is build good citizens, good, very responsible young individuals.”

Contreras said the Tucson Unified School District is one of the few in the country that offers Mariachi programs, and the students recognize the hard work that comes along with the program.

“Self discipline yourself because if you don't, you fall behind and you don't want to be that one," said Javier Sagaranga, junior.

For Fernandez, it's about time management.

“I learned how to handle my stress a little bit,” said Fernandez.

Contreras said seeing the students grow is the most rewarding part of this job.