While some high school students idle over summer break, the 55 teens at the Longhorn Music Camp are learning the art of mariachi music.
Ezekiel Robert Castro, a lecturer at the University of Texas’ Butler School of Music and director of UT’s Mariachi Ensemble, created the first ever mariachi camp at UT for students entering grades 10 through 12.
“I was a mariachi teacher for a long time,” Castro says. “I have been and still am very passionate about mariachi music. I want to be able to continue this tradition and I like to see it continue in a very positive way and the interpretations should be as correct as possible.”
The camp doesn’t cater to beginners; the students are all experienced players and go through an auditioning process before the three-day session begins (July 10-July 13). Once the instructors reviewed each camper’s ability, they were assigned to their groups for their sessions – which culminate in a concert on Saturday.
Campers’ three-day musical journey concludes at Bates Recital Hall on Saturday. As these dedicated young musicians practice for their concert, they abide by a rigorous schedule. 18-year-old violin player Cody Trejo recently graduated from Ben Bolt High School and will be attending UT this fall.
“What I love about mariachi is that every song has a story. What I hope to take away from this camp is to grow as a musician. The music is challenging, but what is life without a challenge? ”
Castro plans to give the campers a tour of the campus and make their experience at Longhorn Mariachi camp one they will take back fond memories of.
“I want to make sure that number one: they get a positive experience of mariachi music, and when they when they go away should have a positive attitude about their mariachi instructors, and third: I want everybody to go home and say what a good time they had.”
Saturday’s performance at Bates Recital Hall is free and open to the public – and is also available via webcast.