Mariachi Magica

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Margie Reese/Staff

Padre Hidalgo ignited the way to Mexican independence with his spirited El Grito de Dolores, “Viva México! Viva La Independencia!” Dr. Jeff Nevin honored the secular Mexican holy day of independence with his blazing trumpet and the world-renown Mariachi Garibaldi of Southwestern College.

San Diego’s acclaimed music venue Anthology in Little Italy was México Central for day as flags, streamers, and lights of green, white and bloody red honored those who fought for freedom in La Madre México. Nevin’s talented crew was la crema en el café and put on a dazzling concept of traditional and contemporary Mariachi favorites.

Nevin and his musicians have been busy ambassadors for Southwestern College and Mariachi music. They have traveled to México, Russia and Europe spreading the gospels. Nevin said it is a role he cherishes.

“When we go down there the audience really respect us and recognize were performing very traditional mariachi music and we’re doing very well,” said Nevin. “It’s important for me to teach my students the traditional mariachi repertoire.”

Professor Nevin, founder of America’s first collegiate Mariachi, was recognized for his contribution to international arts and culture by the Mexican consulate of San Diego by Remedios Gomez.

Mariachi is a marriage of fundamentals and flare, and the SWC ensemble embodied both.

Nevin has consistently demonstrated the ability to make beginners good musicians and good musicians great ones.

Carlos Castaneda, 20, a music education major, is a member of Mariachi Garibaldi ensemble class and has studied European classical music. He said he hopes of transferring to CSU Northridge next semester. He credits the SWC program for giving him opportunities to audition with professional Mariachis.

“Nevin is a really good teacher and a big influence, I would like to teach Mariachi like him,” said Castaneda.

Many students cross the border for a chance to study with Nevin and earn an associate’s in Mariachi. Recording studios and local bands and restaurants look for actual experience and contemporary performance abilities when auditioning new members to play, enabling SWC students to get good gigs, he said.

Mariachi Garibaldi is held in very high regard in the motherland, including Guadalajara home of the international Mariachi Festival. SWC’s Mariachi Garibaldi has been embraced by the worlds most distinguished groups. Including improvised sessions in hotel lobbies.

“Party for the mariachi guys is when you go to the jam session,” said Castaneda.

“The best performance was when we played Teatro Degollada, a very iconic theater in México. It was awesome.”

Mariachi Garibaldi’s next performance Celebrando El Mariachi Concert will be on December 8, 7:30 p.m. at Mayan Hall Theater.

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