A Mariachi Senior Recital at HSPVA: The Final Bow
All senior students at Kinder High School for the Performing and Visual Arts must go through a graded senior recital to complete their high school years. Four years of hard work for students in the Instrumental Music Department culminates in this senior recital and is a requirement for their Artist Diploma at graduation. My bandmate Nallely and I are students in the Mariachi Department. Our night was beautiful, but the reality of the curtain closing makes the night bittersweet. Our senior recital may be the last time we perform together. I am proud of how to night turned out, but I cannot help look back at some of our challenges leading up to our night.
Students in other art departments have the luxury of driving to the mall to buy a nice dress or suit. One of my biggest challenges with the mariachi senior recitals is excessive planning around our performance outfits.
We do not have a Mariachi-Mart where we go pick up our trajes. A large percentage of all trajes come from boutiques in Mexico. We have to send measurements in, pick material from pictures online, and customize our suit. Our performance attire is not like purchasing a dress or suit from the mall. Traje cost anywhere from $500- $1300. That expense can sometimes be a burden to families. With the cost of am up-and-coming graduation, it is difficult justifying spending that much money on a performance outfit that you will not weat often. I was personally very fortunate. My traje cost 14,700 pesos (around 720 USA dollars). The cost was covered by The Dawley Summer Arts Workshop Scholarship.
The 2nd most considerable hardship that comes from a senior mariachi recital is going out and finding your band to accompany you. You can ask current students, alumni, or different mariachi bands from other high schools. It is always polite to pay it forward by agreeing to help out underclassmen when it is their time to do a senior recital.
Lastly, one of our band members experienced a COVID outbreak a week before our concert. Replacing someone quickly to perform with your entourage is not an easy task. You rely on your peers' kindness to come to help make you a success on your night to shine. And most importantly, my bandmate recovered and is feeling much better.
Even though our department has to jump through several hoops compared to other art departments, I feel a sense of relief and gratitude for a successful performance we put on virtually and in front of a live audience. Our senior recital was a beautiful concert, and I was fortunate to do it with one of my closest friends in the mariachi department. Her whole family are such gifted musicians and were very helpful to me during my high school duration. I am blessed to be a part of such an excellent band and can not wait to see what comes next for me in the future.
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