Local high schools prepare for Fresno City College Mariachi Festival

Vanessa Vasconcelos Image
Monday, March 6, 2023
Local high schools prepare for Fresno City College Mariachi Festival
In less than three weeks, student mariachis from across the state will come together at Ratcliffe Stadium to celebrate tradition and culture.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Following in her father's footsteps, Emily Diaz has been playing the trumpet since 4th grade.

She's the first female on both sides of her family to pick up the instrument.

"Once you pick it up, you continue it and you find something that you love," Diaz says. "It is amazing, and it's something you can carry on for a long time."

Without missing a beat, Diaz and fellow mariachis from Roosevelt High School are perfecting their sound for the Fresno City College High School Mariachi Festival.

"It's a lot of practice -- we have to be consistent," 10th grader Angel Alvardo says.

It may not sound like it, but this is the first time Roosevelt Mariachi will compete.

Eight schools from across California will take the stage at Radcliffe Stadium.

Cash prizes, provided by Fiesta Auto are up for grabs for the top three schools.

"You're going to be amazed by the talent, the performance for dance and for music for mariachi," Student Activities Event Coordinator Maile Martin says.

The celebration of tradition and culture will also showcase Folklorico dancers.

What started as a way to dance a mile in her mother's shoes, turned into a career path for Jennifer Raya.

The tenth grader says she hopes to teach.

"It wasn't super serious. I was like, 'Okay, I'm going to try it out," Raya says. "And now, it's something I want to keep doing. I want to be a teacher, and it's so important to me now."

The Mariachi Festival is Saturday, March 25 at Ratcliffe Stadium. Tickets can be purchased here.

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