Nationally known mariachi bandleader to instruct UNT camp

Monday, July 12, 2010

DENTON (UNT), Texas -- Middle school and high school students will learn from a top mariachi expert July 27 – 31 (Tuesday – Saturday) at the University of North Texas’ third annual mariachi camp.

José Hernández, founder and director of the Los Angeles-based Mariachi Sol de México, will help students learn to better sing and play the guitarrón, vihuela, trumpet and violin in the mariachi camp offered by the UNT College of Music. His group, billed as “the nation’s premier mariachi,” has played in such venues as the White House and Lincoln Center and has recorded with such well-known musicians as The Beach Boys, Willie Nelson and Selena.

How can you register?

UNT mariachi camp tuition is $175, including the cost of housing, meals, materials and music. Registration is still being accepted. Get an informational flyer and registration forms. (Scroll down to “mariachi summer camp.”) Or for more information, join “Mariachi Aguilita Summer Camp 2010” on Facebook.

Who is participating?

Middle school and high school students from Arlington, Fort Worth, Grand Prairie, Garland, Krum and beyond are expected to attend the camp.

In addition to getting instruction from Hernández, campers will learn from UNT students who perform in Mariachi Aguilas, as well as current and former UNT students who perform in the local professional group Mariachi Quetzal.

How do students benefit from the camp?

Beyond learning about beats, rhythms and musical stylings, the 6th- through 12th-grade campers are getting a glimpse of university life by staying in residence halls, eating in the cafeterias and touring the campus.

“For some of these students, it’s their first night away from home and their first visit to a college campus,” said Donna Emmanuel, UNT professor of music and organizer of the camp. “Being here helps them feel so much more comfortable about the college experience. They even get to tour the financial aid and admission office, giving them a look at how the college admissions process works. The experience has made a huge impression on our former campers.”

Learning about mariachi music often helps Hispanic students feel more connected to their culture and personal history and gives students a sense of purpose and belonging, several past campers have told Emmanuel. She and Dr. Steven Prouty, a psychologist, have been studying how the mariachi camp helps at-risk kids deal with challenges in their lives. They’ll present their research this month at a diversity conference in Ireland.

When will they perform?

The campers will perform in a free public concert at 1 p.m. July 31 (Saturday) at the Murchison Performing Arts Center, located along the north side of Interstate 35E at North Texas Boulevard.

UNT News Service Phone Number: (940) 565-2108