When Alfonso Vazquez moved his family from California to Washington, he noticed a void in their cultural opportunities. Although there seemed to be a significant Hispanic population in the area, he couldn't find activities for his children that reflected their heritage.
In 2002 Vazquez partnered with Familias Unidas
to begin teaching Mexican music to children in the Everett area. His classes were popular, with up to 40 kids involved.
When the Vazquez family moved to Marysville in 2006, he formed Mariachi Juvenil Voces de Mexico
, an ensemble consisting of eleven members from the age of 10 and up. Composed of musicians playing violins, guitars and trumpets, the traditional mariachi band is also a family effort, with children and grandchildren, nieces and nephews, plus close friends involved.
One of those friends is Nuvia Godina, an active duty sailor stationed at Naval Station Everett, who heard the band play at a church event. A violinist who started playing the instrument in the fourth grade, she was also searching for a connection to her Hispanic heritage in the area.
"This is our culture," said Godina. "This is our soul music. Our history is in our songs, and it's important to be proud and know where you come from."
Fanny Vazquez, who spends her days in a dental office, opens her home for the group's rehearsals several evenings a week. The family has expanded an outbuilding in the back yard and converted it into a practice space. Once a week, instructor and mariachi master Saul Sanchez comes to Marysville to lead the group and help them refine their sound.
Mariachi Juvenil Voces de Mexico has performed at churches, Quinceañeras, birthdays, baptisms, and even divorce celebrations. They have been asked to serenade lovers during courtship and at weddings. The group has also performed at public events including Seattle's Folk Life Festival and the Evergreen State Fair, and regularly appear at area churches.
To find out more about the mariachi band, visit www.mvm2006.com
or call (360) 421-4851.