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Arvin High's Mariachi receives PEAAK Award from KHSD

Mariachi Los Osos is the first of its kind in the Kern High School District and despite being around for a short time, they're already being recognized
Posted at 4:29 PM, May 17, 2024
  • Video shows how Arvin High School became the first school in the Kern High School District last fall to offer Mariachi and Ballet Folklorico classes.
  • During the Kern High School District's annual PEAAK Awards, the group received its first award for "Outstanding Ensemble Performance."
  • Next school year, the district will be offering mariachi courses at other high schools including—Del Oro, Golden Valley and Foothill.

BROADCAST TRANSCRIPT:

Arvin High School made history, becoming the first school in the Kern High School District last fall to offer Mariachi and Ballet Folklorico classes. I caught up with Mariachi Los Osos who told me about the classes and their achievements so far.

Victor Villasenor is one of the band members who plays the vihuela—a guitar-like instrument—in the band. He says he's been playing mariachi for three years and is inspired by Mexican Ranchera Singer Vicente Fernandez.

"I always wanted to be like him, and I wanted to get in touch with my roots," said Villasenor.

And that's exactly what the program aimed to do.

"Bringing mariachi here—I think it's part of what we wanted to do with the community, we wanted to bridge Lamont, Weedpatch, and Arvin," said Arvin High Music Teacher Jorge Laris. "We wanted to have the students in the community rally around the school am immerse themselves in something unique to us."

Laris says the program allows students to take mariachi and ballet folkloric classes for high school and college credit.

At the start, he said some students were hesitant to perform on stage, given that for some…it was their first time playing an instrument.

Despite those fears, the group demonstrated their talent during their performances throughout the year—making them award recipients of this year's Kern High School District's PEAAK Awards.

"Unbeknownst to us, we got the award for 'Ensemble of the Year,' so that was important for us," said Laris, "Arvin High got to bring back something to the school—something that we're prideful for and something that we're proud of."

Villasenor said he is most proud of receiving this award because it proves the band's potential, given that they've been performing together for less than a year.

He encourages other students to sign up for the class to keep Mexican culture present at their school.

"This is something you can do and if you enjoy music and you enjoy where you come from, you should try because if we don't have a lot of people who try to join it will go away," said Villasenor.

Next school year, the district will be offering mariachi courses at other high schools including—Del Oro, Golden Valley, and Foothill.


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