AUSTIN -- High school mariachi band students arrived Wednesday at the University of Texas for the first Longhorn Mariachi Camp. Organizers plan to make it an annual event.
Camp opened with a welcome by the week's instructors -- The Mariachi Los Arrieros from El Paso. Students eager to play and learn, came from across Texas, all currently in high school mariachi bands.
Martin Eliud Guerra Rivera is a sophomore at Rio Grande City High School. "I came here to learn as much as possible, maybe for the violin, maybe for voice or showmanship wise," he said.
He plays violin and is happy to hear the camp director wants everyone to also sing. "Just to be able to express myself more in the music, and improve my diction," he explained.
Virginia Pierce also plays violin. She's from Southwest High School in San Antonio.
"Mariachi style is usually like more energy and more showy," said Pierce. She says she really enjoys playing the violin and how you can make so many different types of music with its four strings.
The director of the camp, Zeke Castro, also directs the Mariachi Ensemble at UT. He has a passion for teaching this music.
"I think that it lights up the heart of many, many, many people of our great state," Castro said.
Castro also says he hopes these students will will continue performing after they graduate high school -- possibly at the University of Texas. That is something Virginia is considering.
"I think this will give me a good experience, or a good idea, of how the experience in college would be," Pierce said.
Camp ends with a performance at Bates Recital Hall. It's free and open to the public on Saturday from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. It will also be a webcast. Click here for more information.