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White Plains HS Mariachi Band Performing At NYSSMA Conference

The White Plains High School Mariachi Band.
The White Plains High School Mariachi Band. Photo Credit: Contributed

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. --  The White Plains High School mariachi band, the only mariachi band in a New York State public high school, has just received a top honor.

The mariachi band, which is in its third year, was one of the few music ensembles selected to perform at the New York State School Music Association All-State Music Festival in Rochester on Saturday, Dec. 1. This is the first time a mariachi band has been selected to perform at a NYSSMA conference.

A mariachi band performs traditional Mexican music and features singers, a violin, trumpet, vihuela, guitar, and guitarrón

Zach May, the orchestra director for the band, said the group started after a student suggested it. It has soon grown to 30 students and 12 to 20 students regularly perform. Mariachi bands are common at high schools in the Southwest, May said.

"We play in the Mexican tradition, but we've arranged rock songs and reggaetón to adapt to our mariachi band," May said. "It's very delightful.  It brings together the music department."

The band features a diverse mix of students. May said they enjoy performing songs like "Guadalarja," and "El Cascabel."

"It's a lot of fun," May said.

A YouCaring page has been launched to help pay for suits and new instruments. The band has already raised $110. May said the band has well received by the school community.

"There's been a lot of interest in it from students and parents," May said. "The number of kids in the band speaks for itself."

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