Hispanic Heritage Month Spotlight: Mariachi connects Bethany to her culture


Bethany G. was only in the sixth grade when she first began playing trumpet at Young Women’s STEAM Academy at Balch Springs. Little did she know that experience would lead to her eventually being admitted to Dallas ISD’s competitive Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, where she is described by the orchestral leader as “a stellar contributor” to the wind ensembles, big band, full orchestra, and mariachi ensemble.

“I didn’t know the potential I had to play the trumpet until I played in the [Balch Springs] band with my directors Ms. Baker and Mr. England,” Bethany said. They lit my fire to actually play this instrument. And that was important because then I was able to get into Booker T.”

Once there, Bethany thrived, branching out from her primary ensemble—band—to also perform in the jazz orchestra, full orchestra, and her favorite, mariachi.

“I love all of them, but I really love mariachi because it’s fun and entertaining, and it connects me to my culture,” says Bethany, a first-generation Mexican American whose parents are from the town of San Felipe in Guanajuato state, Mexico. “Mariachi makes people happy. The mariachi band plays for festivals and professional events, so it gives me a lot of experience in meeting and talking with people.”

Booker T’s head of orchestral studies, Michael A. Jacko, DMA, describes Bethany as a stellar contributor to all her ensembles and an exemplary trumpet player who stands out even more because, unlike many of her classmates, she has never had private lessons. “She is also one of the finest citizens we have in our community, meaning that she raises the level of her ensembles, and she is unfailingly supportive of her classmates. Because Bethany enjoys music so much, all of her ensembles are more fun and focused because she is a member.”

During lunchtime or flex period at school, Bethany can often be found practicing. “I practice a lot, and I search for videos of professional trumpet players. Some of them give you tips, and I practice that. Some of my classmates have private instructors and I learn from them as well. Also, I give credit to my teachers, who are very knowledgeable: Dr. Jacko for orchestra and mariachi, Ms. Gerardo for mariachi, Mr. Hobdy for jazz, and Mr. Ruangtip for band.”

For other students thinking of pursuing music, she says: “I’d tell people to just go for it, just do whatever you want to do. Use your talents.”


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