New Mexico

Las Cruces International Mariachi Conference begins

Mariachi Music Conference in Las Cruces

One thing's for sure: Las Cruces doesn't play second fiddle to mariachi music.

The Las Cruces International Mariachi Conference kicked off Wednesday, with musicians from miles around improving their craft and collaborating with others. It will last through the weekend.

Students from Las Cruces and all over the country are getting hand-on experience right from the professionals.

"Now I'm looking at students and saying, 'I wonder which of these kids are going to be playing with me in 20 years,'" said Joe Baca, a member of Mariachi Cobre.

Baca was born in Las Cruces and grew up learning how to play mariachi music in the Southwest.

"It's so important to me and it is my life," said Baca, who learned to play from members of Mariachi Cobre, Disney World's exclusive mariachi band. Now, he lives in Florida and plays with the band internationally. "Being able to represent New Mexico over there with them and also represent Cobre back here at home - that's something that's very special to me," he said.

The students at the conference look up to the professionals who were once in their shoes.

"We kinda see them as role models, but after you get to talk to them, it's like they're you're friend," said Julian Vasquez, of Tucson, Arizona.

Those in attendance hope that one day, a Las Cruces will play mariachi music for a global audience.

"They took a risk to actually do this for a living and it's such a great honor to learn from them," said Hannah Vasquez, of Las Cruces. 

"Whether or not they go into music professionally, or keep it as a hobby, it's something that they'll take with them for the rest of their lives," said Baca.

There will be several concerts throughout the next few days, including a student showcase at Centennial High School on Friday at 7:45 p.m., which costs $10 to the public.

There will also be a "spectacular concert" at Centennial High School on Saturday at 7:30 p.m., which costs $35 - $100 to attend.

For mariachi musicians, registration to attend the conference in full is $135. 


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