Mariachi Aguila de Cesar Chavez y Dolores Huerta Preparatory High School was founded in 2002 when Cesar Chavez Academy was first opened. In 2009 Mr. Jorge Melo became the mariachi director. He brought vast knowledge and passion for mariachi music as well as great experience in musical performance from opera to mariachi . He changed the program to include music theory for all his students and also requires the performing “advanced” mariachi students to study the musicians that have dedicated their lives to mariachi music. Currently, Mariachi Aguila is the only performing school/student based mariachi in all of Colorado and is also self sustaining.
The students at all levels of the mariachi program learn music theory, performance, and culture. Building confidence daily in the students is a big part of the program. The younger students learn the importance of always doing their best and working with others to create beautiful music with their goal being to someday perform in the advanced mariachi group.
The students in the advanced mariachi group are some of the most talented, intelligent and engaging students in CCA/DHPH. The majority of the students are honor students in the top of their class and several are ECP (early college) students. This year the group has the honor of having Japanese exchange student Sayo Kukuchi as a trumpet player. The students range in age from 12 to 18 and have had vast opportunities to showcase their talents and to promote their school and community.
Mariachi Aguila serves the community in many ways. They participate in community wide events such as the annual Chile & Frijole Festival, the State Fair’s Fiesta Day, Dia de los Muertos and many other events. They also give performances for local nursing homes, children’s organizations and have been featured for two years at the United States Air Force Academy for their annual Heritage celebration.
They have collaborated with local ballet folklorico groups to provide live music for performances and have been on tour in Kansas and Colorado and have been to Vienna, Austria to participate in the International Folk Dance Festival. They have also been featured in many ballet folklorico shows with the local dance groups Omawari, Aymoray and Colorado State University-Pueblo. Mariachi Aguila also performs on Friday evenings at Garlic and Onions in Pueblo as a way to fundraise for the mariachi program.