Viva Southwest composes a new ensemble

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Mariachi music fills the air with the sound of each instrument intertwining to create harmony. When the song is over, the audience erupts in applause and parents give a standing ovation to honor their children’s performance.

Will Trevizo, a music performance student at Metropolitan State University in Denver, remembers teaching students in the Mariachi Workshop at the Aspen Music Festival. “The appreciation of our culture by parents and the Aspen Festival community, where the majority of the audience was non-Latino, brought tears to my eyes,” he said.


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Now Trevizo brings his love for teaching to Viva Southwest Mariachi Festival on Sunday. The fifth annual festival, hosted by MSU Denver’s music department and the Latino Cultural Arts Center, will take place at the Levitt Pavilion and will feature Lupita Infante, whose album “The Serenata” was nominated for a Grammy. And for the first time, a set of young people from all states Mariachi Estelares from Colorado will also occur.

The concert is free and open to the public.

Alejandra Solis sings with the MSU Denver ensemble MSU Denver’s Los Correcaminos for the festival at the King Center, February 15, 2020. Photo by Sara Hertwig

Twelve student musicians were selected for the ensemble after completing a rigorous audition process, said Lorenzo Trujillo, Ed.D., JD, affiliate professor of music at MSU Denver and founder of the university’s renowned mariachi ensemble. , mariachi Los Correcaminos. The high school students hail from Denver, Commerce City, Longmont, Pueblo and Westminster and have been coached by MSU Denver Music students such as Trevizo.

“About three years ago, I signed on with the Latino Cultural Arts Center to run the Viva Southwest Mariachi Festival and workshops,” Trujillo said. “We really wanted to grow this program for the community and provide an opportunity for all students.”


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Trevizo has loved mariachi music since he was young. He started playing in his father’s band while growing up in Mexico. His interest in the genre was rekindled when he came to the United States and began learning to play the violin. Although he started his college career studying to be a paramedic, he eventually returned to his love for music.

Mariachi is central to the Mexican community and American identity, Trevizo said. Audiences gain an appreciation for the richness of Mexican culture and an understanding of history through music.

“I was very touched by the representation of my culture by this festival (Viva Southwest),” he said. “Through my teaching and acting, I hope to bring that kind of nostalgia and that kind of representation of who we are as Latinos.”

The first statewide mariachi ensemble, Mariachi Estelares from Colorado, will perform four songs at the Levitt Pavilion before Lupita Infante takes the stage. The performance represents the culmination of seven years of MSU Denver’s mariachi program, led by Trujillo.

“I grew up with the mariachi and I’ve been playing music all my life,” Trujillo said. “Now we are pushing high school students to the highest level and expanding the opportunity so that more students can have the experience of performing in front of an audience.”

RSVP here for free entry. Limited VIP tickets are also available.

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