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San Fernando's Youngest Mariachi Musicians Are Nominated for Prestigious National Award PDF Print E-mail
Written by San Fernando Valley Sun   
Thursday, 09 August 2012 02:31

Mariachi Tesoro de San Fernando has gained a sterling reputation for showcasing the talents of advanced students from the award winning and nationally recognized arts-ineducation program, the City of San Fernando Mariachi Master Apprentice Program (MMAP). A project created in 2001 in collaboration with Señor Nati Cano, founder of the world renowned Mariachi Los Camperos and the City of San Fernando Recreation and Community Services Department, began as an experiment and has developed into an award winning program. The program distinguishes itself due to the quality of instruction provided by members of Mariachi Los Camperos de Nati Cano, such as Grammy Award-winning musical director, Jesus Guzman as well as Sergio Alonso, Jimmy Cuéllar and Juan Jiménez. Cano is considered to be the single-most important figure in the dissemination of mariachi music in the U.S.

"This youth arts education program has been recognized at the local, state, and national levels, but most recently, from the White House, the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities has selected this program as a finalist for the 2012 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award," said Virginia Diediker, San Fernando Cultural arts director. "It is the nation's highest honor for after-school arts programs. But the true stars are the youth and this prestigious award is testament to the hard work, dedication, and commitment of all of the students, parents, and community arts advocates who provided support and believed in the program."

MMAP unites young students with master musicians in the communities of the North-East San Fernando Valley to study the popular and traditional Mexican art forms. Through the study of culturally-relevant musical traditions, young people are discovering a sense of pride in the heritage of their families, developing positive self-identities; contributing as young citizens to the underserved communities they live in and are preserving and disseminating the traditional arts. These results are important to our youth and community because they provide the skillsets and real-life experiences they will need for success as tomorrows young leaders and also allows them to develop a better understanding and respect for all people within our culturally diverse society.

"MMAP's presence in our community has resulted in an increase in the number of high school graduates and students pursuing higher education," said Diediker. "Over the last decade, the graduation rate of MMAP students has remained 100%". Diediker notes that this figure is especially notable considering that last year, the statewide graduation rate of California was 76 percent, the district wide graduation rate of the Los Angeles Unified School District was 61 percent, and "within our local school district, one of the most underrepresented and underperforming areas of Los Angeles, was 58 percent." Additionally, many MMAP students have pursued higher education and have attended some of the most prestigious universities in the nation, including MIT, Stanford, UC Berkeley, and UCLA.

The Mariachi Master Apprentice Program is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, California Arts Council, The Alliance for California Traditional Arts, and the City of San Fernando.

Last Updated on Thursday, 09 August 2012 04:23