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Muscatine High School’s Brand New Mariachi Band

Read about MHS’s new edition to the music department.

In the 2023 school year, MHS welcomed a brand new band into the music department. This is the high school’s first time ever having a mariachi band. Run by Mr. Najarro, the MHS Orchestra Director, this new addition to the collection of bands throughout the school is meant to spread Mexican culture through music. 

Mr. Najarro shared that this isn’t his first experience directing a mariachi band. 

“I work and help with the mariachi band in West Liberty and when I mentioned that to the students here, many asked why don’t I start one here. It took time, but we are finally getting the ball rolling,” said Mr. Najarro. 

Mr. Najarro is also the advisor of the Ethnic Club, so he has connected with many Latin students at MHS. Despite this, he shared that this specific band is not limited to only Latin students.

“I wanted to share this music with not just Latin students, but with anyone who is interested, and share a piece of history with all students that sometimes isn’t talked about enough,” said Mr Najarro. 

Mariachi ensembles have become more common within High schools. Mr. Najarro believes it’s important to have them available to high school students because it gives them a chance to learn new things. 

“[The importance] mostly stems from the fact that we have a vibrant Latin community. Music has been part of my life for so long but my family ties never felt connected with it as it was a different style but now it feels like I’m at home playing mariachi music and I want to share that feeling with others,” said Mr. Najarro. 

The instruments used in this band are what sets it apart from others. Traditional mariachi bands include instruments that are not used in other ensemble bands. 

“This group traditionally has violins, trumpets, guitar, vihuela, and guitarrón. But I’m also including violas and cellos/basses,” said Mr. Najarro.

The band meets every Tuesday during muskie time. They are learning to play three different Hispanic songs, and hope to perform them at an Orchestra concert. 

“I am hoping to have the mariachi play for our Orchestra concert on October 12th in the MHS auditorium at 7:30. We will be hoping to play La Raspa, El Cabillito and El Rey with a special guest singer that works in the high school. We might just do two because this group is just starting out, but we hope to be a part of concerts and events in the future,” said Mr. Najarro. 

But Mr. Najarro isn’t the only one who is excited to share this music. Senior Lexi Taylor is involved with a variety of musical related activities at MHS, and is very excited to add Mariachi to the list. 

“I wanted to join mariachi because Mr. Najarro runs it, and he is one of my favorite teachers and a huge inspiration to me. I also really wanted to be a part of something new,” said Lexi. 

Contributing to the mariachi band is something Lexi is really proud of because it combines their culture with performing, which is Lexi’s favorite thing to do. 

“I really enjoy mariachi music because I grew up around it. I get a lot of influence from my Grandpa who loves when I sing Mexican music. I am really happy to have an in school opportunity to perform this style of music,” said Lexi, “I love to perform music because I like to convey my emotions through songs for the audience.”

Lexi plays the viola and sings. They hope to get to do a little of both for the Mariachi band. 

“I would love to sing for the band sometime. I have always wanted to learn how to sing different styles of music, and the mariachi band will teach me how to sing in Spanish properly. I also believe it’s very important to include singing in this band because singing is a huge part of Hispanic music so we would be missing a crucial piece if we didn’t include vocals in our repertoire,” said Lexi.

Make sure to stay tuned for upcoming announcements about the MHS Mariachi Band!

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About the Contributor
Amaya Wagner
Amaya Wagner, Chief Editor
Amaya is a Senior at MHS. This is her third year writing with the Newspaper team. Along with Newspaper, she is a Co-President of Key Club and a member of NHS. In her free time she enjoys going to concerts, spending time with her friends and family, and listening to music.
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    Connie KeitelOct 5, 2023 at 10:03 am

    Nice article, Amaya! This does sound like a fun activity. I’m happy the students are excited about it and that Mr. Najarro is organizing it. I’ll put the date on my calendar and see if I can attend.