Students from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas will be saluting President Barack Obama mariachi style at his second inauguration in Washington, D.C.
The Palmview High School mariachi and folkloric group from Mission, Texas, made up of 62 high school students, will march in the 57th Inaugural Parade planned to take place on January 21. Obama will be sworn in privately at the White House the day before.
“We are the only ones representing the Hispanic community in the U.S.,” says Rolando Rodriguez, who has been directing folkloric dance at Palmview High School for the past four years. “It is a big honor. We are all thrilled.”
He says that they submitted a video, pictures, and recordings of past performances, and their group was one of the groups chosen to perform in Washington, DC, out of 2,807.
Mayra Garcia, Palmview High School mariachi director, says their school district was one of the first in the U.S. to have mariachi embedded into their curriculum. She says the district has offered it as a class for fine arts credit since 1982, not only as an after school program.
“In our area it is very popular, because the kids are very drawn to it because it represents their culture, and they feel a connection to it,” says Garcia, who has also been teaching at Palmview High School for four years. “Most of their parents are Mexican Americans and immigrants, so they know this music and the parents are very supportive of it… It’s very colorful and very beautiful.”
She says the mariachi program consists of 22 students, and the folkloric dance group 40, but Garcia says they always perform together.
“The talented groups chosen to participate in the Inaugural Parade reflect the spirit, values, and diversity of our great nation,” President Barack Obama said in a statement released by the Presidential Inaugural Committee. “Vice President Biden and I are honored to have them join us in the parade.”
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