Mariachi Aztlan De Pueblo Psyches-Up For Conference

By Jacquelyn Gutierrez

Pueblo High School’s 17 members of Mariachi Aztlán will be participating in this year’s Tucson International Mariachi Conference (TIMC) later this month and hopefully bringing home an impressive fifth consecutive first place.

The TIMC is a prestigious event that includes participants from mariachi groups all over the country, including world renowned Mariachi Vargas, Mariachi Nuevo Tecalitlan, and this year, Mariachi Sol De Mexico is coming to Tucson from Los Angeles.

Closer to home, Pueblo Mariachi Aztlán member Carmen Membrila, a sophomore, said, “We’re very hopeful in winning for the fifth time this year. We have a very good set list, so the whole Mariachi group and I are very excited.”

This Conference is held at Casino Del Sol for three days—from April 25 through April 28. The Mariachi’s vary in ages—from as young as elementary-aged students to high school.

Pueblo mariachi teacher Mr. John Contreras said, “We’ve been working long hours during and after school. This [conference] is our main focus right now, so I wish us the best of luck.”

Practicing for a couple months now, Mariachi Aztlán has been preparing to keep up the number one record. For the five seniors in this year’s program, they are hoping for another victorious placing.

“Unfortunately this will be one of my last conferences,” said senior Liam Membrila, “but we have been working hard and playing the songs over and over, so I’m confident about how we do at this year’s conference.”

Mariachi Club president Destiny Olea, a senior who has been in the club since her sophomore year, said, “Between now and the conference, our group needs to perfect our set list enough for us to compete—as well as to remember to have fun and not stress.”

“Regardless of the new members this year, our mariachi group is just as dedicated as ever,” Olea said. “Our passion and our originality are definitely assets to our program.”

She added that the group does more than just play mariachi music. Earlier this year, Pueblo’s mariachi group raised approximately $5,000 for school children victimized by Hurricane Harvey in the Houston, Texas area by performing with other local mariachi groups.

‘Beatlemania’ Rocks Pueblo

by Yamilex Garcia

On Thursday, March 15, 2016, Pueblo’s fine arts department students entertained a small crowd with a concert, performing some of the most influential music by the 1960s English rock and roll band, the Beatles, who, even to this day, hold the record for the most number one singles by a band and the most singles in the Billboard Top 100. In fact, in one week in early April 1964, the Beatles occupied all of the Top Five singles—an amazing feat that has never been duplicated.

After 50 years since the Beatles landed at New York’s JFK Airport in February 1964, “Beatlemania” has not waned. Here at Pueblo, there are many who consider the Beatles one of the greatest bands ever.

The concert consisted of guitar class students, mariachi students, solo performances by teachers, staff, and students, and included the jazz club’s first performance, all whom performed Beatles song in different musical styles.

“The performances were a new concept and all of Mr. Vargas’ ideas, but the concert took on a life of its own,” band and jazz director Mr. Jeff Shepherd said.

After teaching his students Beatles classics for the third quarter, guitar teacher Mr. Jonathan Vargas used the performances as an evaluation for his students and their progress. Mariachi Aztlan also took part in the event, interpreting two Beatle songs in a mariachi style, including “All You Need Is Love”. They also performed Tony Bennett’s 1962 classic “I Left My Heart In San Francisco” and the 1960 R & B classic, “At Last”.

Music teacher Mr. Jim Hill, along with Mr. Shepherd and Mr. Vargas sang two songs, including the Beatles’ “Oh, Darling”.

Also, teachers Ms. Sarah Sutton (drama) and Mr. Shepherd sang two duets.

Mariachi teacher Mr. Johnny Contreras said, “This concert was awesome! I think Pueblo should have more concerts that involve students and teachers.” He added, “Maybe next time Dr. Romero could sing a song for the audience.”

“The night was an awesome collaboration of all the fine arts programs,” said Vargas. “I’m proud of all of the students who participated in this event. We had really positive criticism from the Pueblo community, including Dr. Romero, who announced over the intercom that he really enjoyed the concert.”