The sounds of mariachi are in the air at Cunah Middle School in Half Moon Bay. We are excited to kick off another season of mariachi education that ignites the spirit and tradition of the beautiful music that transcends generations. As we grow the next generation of mariachi artists, we recognize that the gift of music offers so much more than just a song. For us at ALAS we have been excited to see the fruits of our mariachi program extend into areas of academic success, leadership, relationships and community heroes.
How does mariachi make all this happen?
Always believing that each of our youth are leaders and are waiting for a stage to shine
Learning together and opening the pipeline of education for our youth to thrive
Acknowledging the natural talent that is waiting to come alive in our youth through music
Singing the songs of our ancestors and families, keeping alive traditions and culture
Our teachers of mariachi give back each week to drive long distances to make the trek over the windy road of 92 to give back to our kids. In a recent interview by Bay Area Life, Channel 7, the question was posed to Rigo Campos, our Director asking "why do you do this?" With emotion, Rigo's answer was simple "because I see myself in them" We all see our selves in our youth of ALAS. That child that has a dream, that youth that wants to make his family proud, that singer that wants to be the best he can, that mom or dad that takes their child every week to class no matter how tired, that teacher that sees himself in each child wanting to learn. This is what makes our mariachi program so special. This is how it all happens. ALAS is proud to see what awaits Mariachi Media Luna in 2016-2017..
The excitement is in the air as we kick off our 2016 season. Images of colorful trajes, friends laughing, mariachis singing with gritos that fill the air mark the beginning of ALAS' season of performing arts. This past week, Tonantzin began our first week of ballet folklorico classes. It was the first time we took the summer off to take a break, organize and rest after a long year of hard work and dedication by our youth and families.
As the summer started to wind down, youth started to ask when classes were resuming. As we all gathered for the first day back, I witnessed hugs shared, smiles beaming, parents laughing and summer stories being exchanged. I saw new skirts, polished dancing shoes and dance bags ready to take on the new season. Maestro Zenon Barron welcomed each student, back and motivated them for the year ahead with a new repertoire of music and choreography.
Inspiration filled the Ted Acock center as forty students came with the commitment ready to give their all to preserve culture, traditions and the dances of beautiful Mexico.
Our youth of Tonantzin practice twice a week, learning rigorous dances, memorizing hard rhythmic zapateados and choreography that solidifies their ability to memorize, learn and lead in both academics and cultural arts.
As I watched all the energy swarm the room, I witnessed one of the most special gifts of ALAS, that of community. I witnessed a room filled with community created by friendship, perseverance, trust, struggle and hard work. The commitment that our families and students give behind the scenes to bring the beautiful dances to life on the stage is exemplary. They give all year long of their time, energy and dedication to dance and inspire the community.. It's pure corazon (heart( that our students and families bring to Tonantzin..
Just as much as we needed the break, we all realized that we need each other.
AlAS is community, Tonantzin, is family. When we dance for the community, we all are connected as one for that moment, for that dance. Welcome back Tonantzin!
Belinda is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in California and Founder of A.L.A.S. She also is Faculty at the University of San Francisco, where she teaches in the Counseling Department. She has a doctorate in International and Multicultural Education. Her research is focused on the psychological trauma experienced by many in the immigration system as well as understanding healing spaces in the Latino community.