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    Chief Sealth’s Mariachi Las Aguilas Leads the Way for Elementary Students
    Posted on 05/18/2018
    Las Aguilas perform at Sanislo

    Chief Sealth’s Mariachi Las Aguilas Leads the Way for Elementary Students

    In a packed gym at Sanislo Elementary, band instructor Brittany Delong counted her students off, trumpet in hand. A semicircle of middle and high school students gripping their string and horn instruments waited for her cue. At Delong’s direction, Chief Sealth’s Mariachi Las Aguilas band began to play Los Machetes.

    Now in its 19th year, Chief Sealth’s mariachi is one of the only programs of its kind in the nation. The program encourages cross-cultural understanding through music, celebrates the culture and heritage of Latino students and provides a way for parents to actively participate in their children’s education.

    Las Aguilas pose for a photoLas Aguilas singer Janelle Barlow is a product of the complete Chief Sealth mariachi band experience. A graduate of Chief Sealth, she attended Sanislo Elementary and Denny International Middle School. “It started as a hobby until I realized I was able to perform and compete. When I had more opportunities, I was able to take music more seriously. [Mariachi] It’s the best way to find out more about your culture and engage with your community.”

    Mariachi ensembles typically include violins, Spanish guitars, trumpets, a vihuela and the elephantine guitarrón. As a celebration of Mexican culture, students from all backgrounds who are interested in playing the violin, trumpet or guitar are welcome to join.

    Instructor Delong is a proponent of the program as a way to increase engagement among all students, “We meet almost every day in mariachi class. It’s the one class some of my students come to school for.”

    Chief Sealth students meet for mariachi four times a week as a chosen elective class. Student performers that attend Denny International Middle School receive instruction twice a week as part of its afterschool program.

    To expose students to mariachi music before they arrive at Denny International Middle School and Chief Sealth High School, the band has increased their outreach to feeder elementary schools like Sanislo Elementary.

    Learn more about the Chief Sealth’s mariachi ensemble.