WSC Music Department Presents Mariachi Negro y Oro

Jessica Palmillas, News Writer

All Wayne State College students and the Wayne community are invited to enjoy free traditional Mexican music during the WSC Mariachi Negro y Oro concert. The event is on Wednesday, Dec. 1 at 7:30 p.m. The concert is typically held once a semester at the Peterson Fine Arts building, but this semester, the performance takes place at the Praise Assembly of God building, 1000 East 10th Street, Wayne, NE.
Mariachi Negro y Oro features a mix of instruments including trumpet, violin, vihuela, guitar, and guitarrón. The group is directed by Dr. Josh Calkin, WSC Director of Bands. The group started about six years ago, according to Calkin. It was implemented on campus so students can gain exposure to traditional music.
“It was a need that I think I identified on campus as an ensemble that we didn’t have, but thought that we certainly should,” Calkin said. “Music education majors can use it for their program someday.”
When starting the ensemble, Calkin considered the demographic that his students would one day teach.
“With a lot of folks of Mexican descent moving into the area, I thought that having a way to connect musically with that demographic can be really important for school music programs,” Calkin said.
The ensemble consists of WSC students.
“Any race or ethnicity can also learn about Mariachi and be in ensemble, you don’t necessarily need to be a music major,” Alecxis Hernandez, member of the ensemble, said. “We have some students that are in Mariachi but are not music majors.”
To join, students can enroll in the class called MUS 135, even without background in music. Hernandez himself overcame the challenge of learning the violin in about two days.
“I played the violin in third grade and that’s the only time I played and several years later, I learned the violin for the first time,” Hernandez said. “Josh Calkin would always push to the very best of my abilities.”
For Hernandez, Mariachi is a way to connect with his heritage.
“I am Latino myself, my parents are from Mexico, I like to express my Mexican roots,” Hernandez said.
The ensemble aims to expose the culture to those that might not see it everyday.
“I think understanding that there are a lot of important musical forms out there that exist outside that sphere that we consider traditional American music is good for everybody,” Calkin said.
People can expect to relax and enjoy the show predicted to last around an hour.
“Hopefully sometime in the future, the ensemble grows and I would like to see the ensemble become popular and well-known,” Hernandez said. “I would like to see the ensemble enter for a competition.”