UNT's new mariachi camp offers musical tips, college life experience

Thursday, July 24, 2008
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DENTON (UNT), Texas -- Aspiring mariachi players in sixth through 12th grades will learn from University of North Texas students at the UNT College of Music's first-ever summer mariachi camp Aug. 7 -9.

In addition to learning to pluck the guitarrón or play the staccato sounds of the trumpet, the students will get a taste of university life by touring campus and meeting with UNT students.

"The long-term goal is to build a relationship with Latino middle school and high school students so they begin to feel comfortable on a university campus and we can increase their interest in attending college," said Dr. Donna Emmanuel, UNT associate professor of music and coordinator of the camp. 

Who?

About 30 middle school and high school students from Arlington, Garland and Grand Prairie school districts are expected to attend the camp to learn from UNT students leading the workshops. Enrollment is now closed, but media are welcome.

Students will learn how to enhance their singing and to improve their playing of traditional mariachi instruments --trumpet, violin, guitarrón and vihuela (a guitar-like instrument).

When and where?

Workshops will be held throughout the day Aug. 7-9, with "jam sessions" in the evenings. All workshops will be in the UNT Music Building, southeast corner of Avenue C and Chestnut Street.

The camp ends with a free, public concert at noon Aug. 9 (Saturday) in the Lyceum of the University Union, one block west of Welch and West Prairie streets. Campers and the UNT Mariachi will perform.

What's special?

The three-day camp is a limited-enrollment pilot program, funded by the UNT Office of Equity and Diversity. Next year, the camp will be expanded to a weeklong program with open enrollment.

UNT started its first-ever student mariachi ensemble, Mariachi Aguilas, in 2004 and offered its first mariachi class in 2005. Under the leadership of Danny Cantu and Emmanuel, the Mariachi Aguilas perform at campus events and community organizations. In 2007, Cantu formed a professional group, Mariachi Inolvidables, for UNT graduates to perform at private functions. In addition, UNT music students serve as mentors in mariachi programs at public schools in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Need more information?

Contact Emmanuel at (940) 369-7973 or donna.emmanuel@unt.edu.

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