Tucson International Mariachi Conference

LBC Youth Mariachi Ensemble Returns Triumphant From Its First International Conference

Thanks to your recent contribution this past May, 36 high-achieving, youth mariachi musicians from local underserved communities had an unforgettable experience that has dramatically deepened their experience with the LBC Mariachi Ensemble and forever transformed their vision for the musical possibilities ahead of them.

Traveling nearly 1,000 miles by chartered bus, our students are the first youth group from Northern California to ever attend the prestigious 40th Annual International Mariachi Conference in Tucson, Arizona, the largest conference of its kind in the world and internationally recognized as the leading proponent of the Mariachi tradition.

These students from LBC’s advanced Mariachi Ensemble, Mariachi Cantares de mi Tierra, attended two and a half days of workshops for multiple instruments, including rare opportunities for specialized education, focusing on harp and vocals. Master educators conducted the workshops, providing opportunity for students at different levels to make significant progress in technical skills and musicianship.  As a testament to the high level of achievement gained in LBC programs, most of our students also participated in additional masters-level instruction.

It was the thrill of a lifetime, from the long road trip and hotel accommodations to organizing their schedules and workshop locations and preparing for performances. Perhaps just as inspiring, our students were able to recognize their own role in the broader world of mariachi by witnessing their peers from other states engaged in their shared tradition.

According to LBC Music Specialist and Mariachi Program Director José Soto, the entire four-day experience elevated to new heights the students’ enthusiasm for continuing to develop their musical skills. And what happened when they appeared in the final student showcase performance? “They nailed it,” José said. “They surprised even themselves.”

Among the first programs of its kind, the free LBC Mariachi Program is designed to engage youth in underserved communities with free, culturally empowering music education during critical out-of-school hours. The program provides more than 100 students, ages 9-17, with year-round engagement, as well as free instruments, meals, uniforms, books, and academic tutoring.

Coming off such a head-spinning, heart-drumming success, our students’ pride in their achievement and their gratitude for your support in getting them there is immense. At LBC, we are inspired to pursue future unique opportunities of this scale for our talented, hard-working students. You help make it possible. Thank you!


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