The Paw Print
Last Saturday night ASC’s own Mariachi Corazon De Valle hosted a Mariachi Spectacular. Performances included Semillas De La Tierra a folkorico dance group also from Adams State College, Mariachi El Tigre, Mariachi San Luis, and Mariachi Encantadoras a female group. Richardson Hall was packed as every seat including the balcony was taken, and some people in the audience were willing to stand to see these Mariachi bands perform. Band members ranged from all ages and grades including not only students, but community members as well.
Mariachi Corazon De Valle got its start in 2002 when some members of Mariachi San Luis felt there was the need to have a college group. After strong efforts from Adobe de Oro (who have some of the same members as Mariachi San Luis) and Frank Sanchez, the group began their journey. Next, funds became available from the Title V grant to start the group and give scholarships to the students. Under the directorship of Nick Branchal, the group took a second place award at the University Level Mariachi Competition at the Albuquerque International Mariachi Conference. Most recently, after years of work, is the inclusion of the mariachi into the music department. This year’s group includes Aric Egana, Charles Johnson, Phillp Ortega, Victoria Parish, Marcos LeBlanc, and Alex Lovato who sold the most tickets for Saturday’s event.
The director of the ASC group, Nick Branchal has been involved for many years with students in public schools at the high school and college levels. As a college student, he played in a group at New Mexico Highlands University. In the beginning, the musicians started as an independent study group later becoming an official class. After graduating Mr. Branchal went on to teach music at Taos High School and started the first mariachi curriculum in a high school in New Mexico. In 1991 he also founded Mariachi Rio Grande, a professional group based in Taos. The founders of Adams State’s Mariachi asked Mr. Branchal to direct the new group. Currently, he directs mariachis in Questa and Taos as well.
Semillas De La Tierra, who has been the longest club in existence since 1970, performed dances throughout the concert in full costume. Under the directorship of Domingo Estrada, they also perform throughout Colorado and neighboring states.
Mariachi El Tigre also includes.Los Tigritos Uno and Tigritos Dos. Directed by Norbert Martinez, this group includes high school and middle school students from Taos, New Mexico. This group first began in 1981, and since has been the first Mariachi group to receive high school course credit. Some of the student barely arrived from Taos before going on stage , but this didn’t stop their exciting performance.
One of the last groups to perform was Mariachi Encantadoras Del Rio Grande also directed by Nick Brachal which includes mostly female members from Alamosa and Albuquerque. Westley Lawrence is currently the only man playing for the band until they find a female guitarronista. The women’s voices echoed throughout the auditorium as the other members quickly played there instruments.