LBC’s Mariachi Ensemble, a robust year-round program, serving some 115+ students, focuses on much more than music. Led by LBC’s Music Specialist José Soto, it teaches technique, musicianship, and stage presence as well as social and emotional skills, like perseverance, leadership, cooperation, and collaboration. Students, ranging in age from 9 – 19, come from communities around Sonoma County including Cloverdale, Sebastopol, Santa Rosa, Rohnert Park, Sonoma, and Healdsburg.
Prior to joining the year-round program, students must participate in one of the Center’s three-week annual mariachi Summer Camps. At the start of the school year, they then join one of three levels of ongoing classes: Beginning, Intermediate, or Advanced. Students must maintain a B average grade at school, attend bi- and tri-weekly classes regularly, and complete assignments regularly. The no-cost program provides all supplies, including the use of an instrument and uniforms, called trajes, for members of the Advanced Ensemble, Mariachi Cantares de mi Tierra, that performs at a wide range of community events. Mariachi Cantares de mi Tierra have opened for the world-famous Mariachi Vargas de Tecatitlan and were invited to attend the annual mariachi competition in Tucson, Arizona, in May 2022.