Mariachi Aztlan Joins Pro Group For Christmas Concert

By Alexis Vargas

The Grammy-winning, fifth generation, and world-famous Mariachi Sol de Mexico de Jose Hernandez, visited Tucson on Dec. 15, for their annual “Merry-Achi Christmas Show” at the Fox Theatre.

It has been four years since Mariachi Aztlán de Pueblo High School was invited to perform alongside the professional mariachi group, and PHS Mariachi director Mr. John Contreras described the very special feelings he experienced.

“I know Jose Hernandez’ [the musical director’s] expectations as a musician that has grown up listening and learning from him and knew that we had our work cut out for us to be able to impress him and the members of Sol de Mexico,” said Contreras.

In preparation, Mariachi Aztlán learned three of the mariachi’s arranged pieces, including the well-known Christmas carol, “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.”

Clarissa Salinas, a senior violinist, said, “Performing was definitely exciting, but as the day arrived, the nerves really kicked in. Nonetheless, it was an honor to play with them and experience the concert live.”

Everybody interviewed for this story felt thrilled to be playing alongside their favorite professional mariachi ensemble.

Armonía section leader Jorge Ramirez expressed how he felt playing the final pieces to conclude the show, including “El Son de la Negra” and “Viva México.”

“The faces of the audience reminded me of why I love being a mariachi,” he said. “Even with these songs being mariachi standards, there’s such a difference when they are performed by professionals.”

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