The Easterner

EWU Mariachi club provides diversity and culture to students

Mariachi Las Aguilas brings people together and bridges gaps between cultures through performances after receiving grant.

EWU+student+Alejandro+Lopez+%28left%29+and+EWU+alumnus+Josue+Torres+%28right%29+perform+with+Mariachi+Las+Aguilas.+THhe+two+laughed+as+they+played+together+and+looked+out+into+the+audience.
EWU student Alejandro Lopez (left) and EWU alumnus Josue Torres (right) perform with Mariachi Las Aguilas. THhe two laughed as they played together and looked out into the audience.

EWU student Alejandro Lopez (left) and EWU alumnus Josue Torres (right) perform with Mariachi Las Aguilas. THhe two laughed as they played together and looked out into the audience.

Courtesy of EWU Music Department

Courtesy of EWU Music Department

EWU student Alejandro Lopez (left) and EWU alumnus Josue Torres (right) perform with Mariachi Las Aguilas. THhe two laughed as they played together and looked out into the audience.

By Sam Jackson, Reporter

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Freshman Rubyceli Alonso discovered EWU on a field trip with her high school. While she was intrigued by the school’s social work program, it was the mariachi music that made her decision.

Alonso plays the violin and has been playing mariachi for seven years. Even though she graduated, the music means so much to her she didn’t want to quit.

“It’s a way to kind of connect with my culture and feel a home away from home sort of deal,” Alonso said.

Mariachi Las Aguilas is essentially an extra-mural program at EWU because it consists of a club and band cohesively. The club’s main function is to support mariachi music. The band’s purpose is to perform music on and off campus. The band consists of 11 students and varies in number from year to year.

The administrator of the club, Sheila Woodward, introduced the mariachi ensemble early in her career through a grant called, “Start Something Big”. Also inspired by the idea, president emeritus Rodolfo Arevalo chose to contribute to the band by offering returning funding every year as his outgoing legacy.

“I wanted to start a mariachi ensemble so that we could attract Hispanic students, provide a cultural home for them to enjoy the music they love, and create stages to the culture on campus,” Woodward said.

This is music that belongs to a huge group of our students. It should be here and we should be celebrating it.”

— Sheila Woodward

Mariachi is about bringing people together, so anyone is welcome to join the club. All that is required for joining the band is experience with mariachi-style vocals or main instruments including violin, guitar, trumpet, guitarron and vihuela.

As a person not of Hispanic descent, Svetlana Kapakchi, the director of music for the band, assures that the program is welcoming to all who share appreciation for the catchy rhythms of mariachi.

“Being non-Latino, it is the music and the knowledge that makes me able to do these things, it does not matter where you come from but it’s the passion and interest,” Kapakchi said.

“We have multiple events that we get booked for in Spokane and in different cities. We serve the community.”

The band plays at multiple events throughout the year including festivals, weddings and various community and school events. The band recently performed at Spokane Valleyfest on Sept. 23.

“It [Valleyfest] was pretty energetic,” Miguel Cendeno, sophomore and violinist for the band said. “There was a lot of people that really got into the music, started dancing and screaming for more.”

The club meets on Tuesdays in the Music Building Recital Hall from 7-9 p.m. To inquire about booking the band and for more information on the club go to the Mariachi Las Aguilas page on Facebook.

Courtesy of EWU Music Department
Mariachi member faces the band. The member flashed the club’s logo on the jacket.

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EWU Mariachi club provides diversity and culture to students