Mariachi is said to come from the French word mariage, meaning marriage—accurate in the sense that it draws people of different ethnicities together to share in its sound.
4 Gringos Mariachi are orchestrating an evening celebrating the high note presence of mariachi music in the South Bay tomorrow, April 11. The 4 Gringo Mariachi Concert & Scholarship Awards will be celebrating the South Bay’s school mariachi programs that were made possible by Keith Ballard, Mark Fogelquist, Jeff Nevin and Gil Sperry.
The event will award more than $18,000 in scholarship money to students in the Sweetwater High School District and will feature music from four local mariachi bands including groups from Chula Vista High School, Southwest Middle School and Southwestern College.
The event will cost $5 and is open to the public.
“You can’t spend five dollars any better way,” said Sperry. “That’s the total price for the evening. All proceeds go into the perpetuating scholarship fund for the SUHSD.”
The well known mariachi music scene in the South Bay is sure to draw a big crowd.
“There will definitely be over 1,000 people. If you can, get their early,” said Sperry.
Sperry believes South Bay has one of the most flourishing mariachi scenes in the country.
“I find mariachi to be one of the most incredible forms of music in the world. A lot of people think of mariachi as two musicians walking the streets playing for cinco centavos por una cancion [five cents a song] and it’s not that way at all,” he said. “When people hear the music, I mean really hear the music, they’re blown away by the virtuosity, the accomplishment and the quality of the music. When you couple that with understanding what the lyrics mean, the music is absolutely incredible.”
The event will be held 7 p.m. at Jack Tygett Performing Arts Center in Chula Vista High School.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story stated students from Southwest High School will benefit from this event. Proceeds will help students from Southwest Middle School. The Star-news regrets the error.