Aspiring mariachi players in sixth through 12th grades learned from UNT students at the UNT College of Music's first summer mariachi camp.
In addition to learning to pluck the guitarrón or play the staccato sounds of the trumpet, the students got a taste of university life by touring campus and meeting with UNT students.
"The long-term goal is to build a relationship with Latino middle school and high school students so they begin to feel comfortable on a university campus and we can increase their interest in attending college," says Donna Emmanuel, associate professor of music and coordinator of the camp.
About 30 middle school and high school students from Arlington, Garland and Grand Prairie school districts attended the camp, held in August, to learn from UNT students leading the workshops.
Students learned how to enhance their singing and to improve their playing of traditional mariachi instruments -trumpet, violin, guitarrón and vihuela (a guitar-like instrument).
Workshops were held throughout the day at the Music Building, with "jam sessions" in the evenings.
The camp ended with a free, public concert by the campers and UNT Mariachi in the Lyceum of the University Union.
The three-day camp was a limited-enrollment pilot program, funded by the UNT Division of Institutional Equity and Diversity. The camp will be expanded in the summer of 2009 to a weeklong program with open enrollment.
UNT started its first-ever student mariachi ensemble, Mariachi Aguilas, in 2004 and offered its first mariachi class in 2005. Under the leadership of Danny Cantu and Emmanuel, the Mariachi Aguilas perform at campus events and community organizations. In 2007, Cantu formed a professional group, Mariachi Inolvidables, for UNT graduates to perform at private functions.
In addition, UNT music students serve as mentors in mariachi programs at public schools in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
UNT News Service Press Release
Ellen Rossetti can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.