Viva Southwest scores a new ensemble
High school students from around Colorado will join Grammy-nominated Lupita Infante at the Viva Southwest Mariachi Festival.
Mariachi music fills the air with the sound of each instrument intertwining to create harmony. After the song is over, the audience bursts into applause and parents give a standing ovation to honor their children’s performance.
Will Trevizo, Music Performance student at Metropolitan State University of Denver, recalls teaching the students for the Aspen Music Festival’s Mariachi Workshop. “The appreciation of our culture from the parents and the Aspen Festival community, where the majority of the public was not Latino, brought me to actual tears,” he said.
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Now, Trevizo is bringing his love for teaching to the Viva Southwest Festival de Mariachi on Sunday. The fifth annual festival, organized by MSU Denver’s Department of Music and the Latino Cultural Arts Center, will take place at Levitt Pavilion and feature headliner Lupita Infante, whose album “La Serenata” was nominated for a Grammy. And for the first time, all-state youth ensemble Mariachi Estelares de Colorado will also perform.
The concert is free and open to the public.
Twelve student musicians were selected for the ensemble after completing a rigorous audition process, said Lorenzo Trujillo, Ed.D., J.D., affiliate professor of Music at MSU Denver and founder of the University’s acclaimed mariachi ensemble, Mariachi Los Correcaminos. The high school students come from Denver, Commerce City, Longmont, Pueblo and Westminster and were taught and coached by Trujillo and Robert Klimek, retired music director at Colorado School of Mines.
“About three years ago, I got engaged with the Latino Cultural Arts Center in putting on the Viva Southwest Mariachi Festival and workshops,” Trujillo said. “We really wanted to grow this program for the community and provide an opportunity to all students.”
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Trevizo has loved mariachi music since he was young. He began playing in his father’s band while growing up in Mexico. His interest in the genre was rekindled when he came to the United States and started learning to play violin. Though he started his college career studying to be a paramedic, he eventually returned to his love for music.
Mariachi is essential in the Mexican community and the American identity, Trevizo said. The audience gains an appreciation of the richness of Mexican culture and an understanding of history through music.
“I was very touched by this (Viva Southwest) festival’s representation of my culture,” he said. “Through my teaching and playing, I’m hoping to bring that kind of nostalgia and that kind of representation of who we are as Latinos.”
If you go:
The Viva Southwest Mariachi Festival takes place Sunday, Sept. 25, 4:30 to 8 p.m. at Levitt Pavilion. The performance is free (VIP tickets available), and all ages are welcome.
The first all-state mariachi ensemble, Mariachi Estelares de Colorado, will perform four songs at Levitt Pavilion before Lupita Infante goes on stage. The performance represents the culmination of seven years of MSU Denver’s mariachi program, led by Trujillo.
“I grew up with mariachi, and I played music all my life,” Trujillo said. “Now, we’re pushing high school students to the highest level and expanding the opportunity so more students can have the experience of performing in front of an audience.”
RSVP here for free admission. Limited VIP tickets are also available.