For the past 11 years, the Spanish community in Wallingford has helped children stay connected to Mexican traditions through musical programs featuring dance, singing and traditional musical instruments.
In 2010, Maria Harlow, then secretary-general of a non-profit organization, commissioned Evangeline Mendoza to oversee the music program. Since the start of the program, students have been pursuing a professional career in music.
Yazim Lopez, a former music program graduate with a music degree from Western Connecticut State University, continues to visit and support students in the program.
“The purpose of this program is to teach students about their culture and roots,” said Mendoza. “Besides learning music from their culture, this also helps to strengthen Spanish. These children have a musical foundation that they can always rely on. It builds their confidence and they Become a social group. ”
Mexican and Latin American students can immerse themselves in their culture at the SCOW School of Music. The program is known for establishing the Mariachi Academy in Connecticut and has performances throughout the state. Students play with traditional mariachi instruments. There is a dance group that dances the Spanish sevillanas, a flamenco-influenced folk dance.
Mariachi is a type of traditional Mexican folk music with vihuela Mexicana, guitarron, harp, violin, guitar, trumpet and voice.
Prior to the pandemic, Mendoza continued to work with students on a personal basis in piano lessons, violin lessons and singing lessons. When the pandemic broke out, I had to stop everything until I got a call about a Mariachi youth group in need of help.
Since September, Mendoza has been working with two mariachi groups, one at the beginner level and the other at the advanced level. Mendoza also conducted a workshop with SCOW students in collaboration with the director of the Mariachi Academy in New York City.
Evelyn Robles Rivas, director of language and community partnerships at Meriden Public Schools, sees SCOW’s music school as an international family celebrating a rich culture.
“These are families who don’t want to lose their language and culture from the mainland. This allows students to enrich their experience and maintain their native language. I’m really proud of what Evangeline has done. Some students went to college to pursue their careers. This program brings a lot of value to culture, “says Robles Rivas.
The music program wants to launch a new mariachi in September. For more information, please contact SCOW ((203) 265-5866).
Wallingford’s music program connects local youth with Mexican traditions
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