MSU Denver’s first all-star youth mariachi ensemble performs

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DENVER — A group of high school students from across Colorado got an opportunity Sunday many their age could only dream about.

“It’s something you don’t see a lot of people in our generation do,” said 17-year-old Genisis Tarango, a student at Westminster High School.

She and about 11 other students make up Metropolitan State University of Denver’s first-ever all-star youth mariachi ensemble. The group performed for the first time in front of a large crowd Sunday afternoon.

“You’re seeing all these professionals playing after you, you’re like, ‘Wow, I was there at some point, too. I was playing what they were playing,'” said Paola Ramirez, 17, a student at Niwot High School.

The group met only a month ago, practicing for the moment they’d take the Levitt Pavilion stage at Viva Southwest and share their passion for mariachi in front of hundreds of people.

“We fed off each other’s energy, and we just all burst into and showing our talent and showcasing our talent, which was something that was very emotional for us,” Tarango said.

For several of the students Denver7 spoke with, keeping their Mexican culture’s tradition of mariachi was the reason they signed up to do this.

“It was just, like, what mariachi is supposed to feel like, like really connected, really close, to our roots and to each other,” Ramirez said.

The students don’t know when they’ll perform together again as a group, but no matter what, this is a moment they’ll hold on to
forever.

“It’s crazy to have this experience that other people my age won’t be able to have,” said Izel Gomez-Martinez, 14, a Denver Center for International Studies student.