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Arts & Culture

Students Learn Lessons Of Language And Culture At Mariachi Camp

Kids have been attending summer camps all over South Texas, but we found one that's steeped deep in tradition and passion. Producer Cynthia Munoz says this camp's name explains what it's all about.

"The Summer Mariachi Extravaganza Vocal Camp."

She puts on a high school aged Mariachi Extravaganza every fall, and this singing boot camp is geared to prepare students for that event.

"Nearly 20 cities are represented here with about 50 students that are participating in the summer camp."

California, Arkansas, and Texas students study. Vocal work is targeted, but that's not all they study. Additionally, Mariachi history and stage performance techniques are the focus.

"We also have Melva Manzke who taught Spanish at Alamo Heights High School for 31 years and she's working individually with students to perfect every word to every song."

Here a student works through lyric pronunciation with her.

"Ya tu sombra seguir asi ya to ame," the students sings. (Translation: "And I will follow in your shadow, that's how I loved you.")

Ms. Manzke responds. "Perfect. Beautiful. Very nice. So you're saying a lot of this in what tense--present or future?"

"Future," the student responds.

"Exactly!"

Grammy Award winner Vikki Carr will help Wednesday on the showmanship aspect of boot camp. And then there's the singing.

"Y yo quiero deciren mi cancion," a student sings.

"Open up a little bit more and relax it," the teacher says.

Each student gets up to sing his or her song with direct critique from teachers. Munoz says Friday night they perform at the Tobin's Carlos Alvarez Theater.

"It'll be a great evening and we hope everyone can join us."

Find more on this event here