Jose Hernandez, founder of Mariachi Sol de Mexico, has been twice nominated for a Grammy award and performed before Presidents. However, on this busy summer day at Orange Coast College, Maestro Hernandez was working with 150 youth prepping them for a Saturday showcase and competition highlighting his beloved cultural tradition.
"They have come in from all over the state, from out of state and even out of the country," the fifth generation mariachi musician says during a class break. "We have students Stockton, Fresno, San Diego, Nebraska, Texas, Idaho and Australia!"
Hernandez started his own group thirty years ago in 1981 that has gone on to become international cultural ambassadors of mariachi music. Twenty years ago, both he and his wifeTeresa Hernandez
co-founded theMariachi Heritage Society
in 1991 to teach music to underprivileged children.
"We have provided after school programs in Los Angeles County," he says. "For the first time, I decided to do something here in Orange County and it has really turned into a community event."
Hernandez's intensive summer institute starts today before coming to an end on Sunday. "We are providing professional teaching to the kids," he adds. "We have quite a few groups that are going to be showcased."
His students will be strutting their stuff on Saturday at Orange Coast College's Robert B. Moore Theater and the judges will be none other than members of Mariachi Sol de Mexico.
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"National High School Champions are going to be crowned," Hernandez says of the event competition. "Also there's a singing contest with the winner performing at the OC Fair as well as the top three Mariachi groups."
Before heading to the fairgrounds, enjoy the showcasing talent of the youth and get your mariachi gritos on in OC. ¡Ajúa!
Jose Hernandez' Mariachi Nationals and Summer Institute Mariachi Showcase and Competition at the Robert B. Moore Theater, Orange Coast College, 2701 Fairview Road, Costa Mesa, Sat. 5:30 p.m. All Ages. FREE!