Photo: Mariachi Musicians
Thanks to the passion of one man and the efforts of his Mariachi Heritage Foundation, mariachi music education programs will soon become a reality in Chicago Public Schools (CPS).
The foundation is the brainchild of investment banker Cesar Maldonado, 29, who works at Cabrera Capital Markets as a Vice President.
The one-year old non-profit’s sole mission is to expand and promote mariachi music education in Chicago public schools. The foundation believes, “Mariachi music education helps increase Latino academic achievement and preserves cultural traditions” amongst Latino youth.
Forty-four percent of students enrolled in CPS are Latino, predominantly of Mexican and Mexican-American descent.
The music programs will be hosted in predominately Latino schools located in Pilsen, Little Village and Back of the Yards. The programs will be fully funded by the foundation and private sector, not by CPS that has been cutting cultural programs due to budget constraints. Mariachi instruments are estimated to cost over $60,000 per school.
According to DNAinfo some CPS schools already have mariachi programs offered as after-school programming. Many of the existing programs have long-wait lists. The Foundation proposes to offer the mariachi music classes full-time, as an elective, during the school day. Classes are expected to begin early next year in two schools.
This Sunday, November 24, the Foundation is sponsoring a concert to raise funds for the program. Grammy Award winner Aida Cuevas will be joined by the Mariachi Sol de Mexico to headline a 3pm concert at the Harris Theater.