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Mountain View’s Mariachi Leones Are Back

The Mariachi Leones have returned to Dallas College’s Mountain View Campus.

Mountain View had become known for its mariachi ensemble over the years, but the group faded away during the COVID-19 pandemic with live performances being put on hold. However, the group has been revitalized by Manuel Chavez, one of the first Leones players who is now an adjunct faculty member.

“I’ve been playing mariachi since I was in middle school, and I’ve been on a mission to revive the mariachi ensemble,” Chavez said. “It’s such a big part of the community. It has such a powerful impact. It’s a way to celebrate. COVID was devastating for the music and fine arts, but we’re back!”

The Mariachi Leones had a strong turnout for its first rehearsal with 22 players joining the group in early January. They’re practicing two days a week with a signature performance scheduled for Wednesday, May 1 at the Mountain View Performance Hall. The Mariachi Leones will be joined by the college’s Latin Jazz Ensemble for a 90-minute performance (7:30-9 p.m.).

Chavez said there has been a tremendous amount of support for the mariachi ensemble to return, ranging from administrators Dr. Beatriz Joseph and Ahava Silkey-Jones to faculty members such as Victor Soto to staff members such as Muneca Torres-Rivera.

“Mariachi is a cultural expression,” Chavez said. “If I was going to introduce mariachi to a person new to the culture and to the music, I would say, ‘Give it a shot.’ Come with joy and happiness and a willingness to learn a culture and learn a new style of music. Mariachi is lively – it will get you dancing.”

The Mariachi Leones plan to have a repertoire of at least four songs for the May 1 performance. Among the most popular mariachi songs include La Bamba, El Rey and El Cascabel.

Most importantly, Chavez said, is that the students who are part of the Mariachi Leones are getting a first-hand experience into what being in the musical world is all about. Chavez described music as being a “safe room” for him growing up and hopes to spread the positive impact it can have to future generations.

“Music can take you wherever you want,” he said.

MVC Mariachi Leones and Latin Jazz Ensemble Recital

Date: Wednesday, May 1

Time: 7:30-9 p.m.

Location: Mountain View Campus, Performance Hall

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