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Mariachi opens for Lupillo Rivera: Grammy artist and WHS Mariachi perform at Central Washington Fair

Courtesy of Ramon Rivera

Courtesy of Ramon Rivera

Maegan Delvo, News Editor

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On Sept. 23 the Wenatchee High School Mariachi Huenachi opened for Guadalupe Rivera, better known as Lupillo Rivera, a Grammy award-winning musical artist at the Central Washington State Fair. The Mariachi played a number of Lupillo Rivera’s pieces to visitors before he began his performance. This is not the first major performance for Mariachi Huenachi; as the varsity Mariachi at WHS, they have had many other notable performances: they opened for comedian George Lopez, played with Marco Antonio Solis and performed in the US capital.

    Mariachi director Ramon Rivera and his students were invited to be part of the performance by the Central Washington Fair committee who was arranging the event with Lupillo Rivera’s manager.

    Once the Mariachi was confirmed to play at the event, they began to prepare for their 30 minute professional performance, which according to Ramon Rivera was a lot of work.

    “It was a 30 minute set for a professional show, and it took a lot of practicing since we knew we were going to perform in front of thousands of people on the main stage and represent our school and valley,” Ramon Rivera said, “We had a lot of practice before and after school to prepare for this big event. There was no time to waste.”

  “[During] group rehearsals I would look at the song list, listen to the recording and play along with it until I got it down,” junior Jared Vidal said.

    Despite all of their practicing, nothing could have equipped them for the morning of the event, when multiple students woke up sick.

    “I woke up in the morning very sick,  and then at the fair a couple other people started getting sick too. A few of them  didn’t end up playing because they weren’t feeling well,” said sophomore Johana Mendez.

    Despite the missing performers, the Mariachi wowed not only the crowd at the fair, but also Lupillo Rivera who praised them after their appearance.

    “Practicing so much paid off because [Lupillo Rivera] said we played good and to keep up the good work,” Mendez said.

     To some of the musicians, playing for Lupillo Rivera provided them with more than just the opportunity to meet someone famous. Lupillo Rivera made a name for himself throughout the 2000s, and received two Grammy nominations and two Latin Grammy nominations for Best Banda Album during that time. In 2010, almost a decade into his career, Lupillo Rivera’s album Tu Esclavo y Amo won the Grammy for Best Banda Album. But before all of that, at the age of four, his family migrated without documents to Long Beach, California, where his father was a recording label/studio owner. Lupillo Rivera originally wanted to go into the restaurant business, but his father exposed him to the music industry. His story is an inspiring one, and to some of the mariachi students this makes their performance even more special to them.

    “He is such a big artist and when you’re in the moment, you don’t realize who you’re playing with. [Lupillo Rivera] was once in my position and it’s awesome to see how far he has gone, and how far Mariachi Huenachi,  or even me, might go,” said sophomore Frida Gallegos.

    In spite of the difficulties Mariachi Huenachi faced at the event, the overall result was successful. Playing for and meeting Lupillo Rivera not only gave the Mariachi an opportunity to represent their school and city on a larger platform, but also to interact with a successful role model for the group.

    “I think they did great, and what an honor for them to meet Lupillo Rivera and just to get the chance to share the stage with a Grammy Award-winning artist. It was truly a once in a lifetime opportunity,” Ramon Rivera said.

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