I make it a point to get downtown and wander around at least once each week. And I keep finding things that are new to me, meeting new people, and having a pretty good time.
This week I was downtown taking pictures of another store to set up a page on this blog (Mango Street Kids, if you would like to know). I had just finished and was heading over to another store, when I passed a door that was normally closed, and it was open. There were a few dozen children inside, many of them carrying musical instruments: brass, violins and guitars. A couple of adults were leading a circle of children in a circle game or exercise.
I figure that anything that has that many kids doing that many things is good for downtown, so I went in and started snapping pictures.
After a minute I introduced myself to and spoke with one of the adults, Alice Cortez, and asked her what was going on. It was a children’s day camp, with a focus on mariachi. Alice introduced me to the director, Angel Amézquita, who filled me in on a few of the details.
The day camp will be in the downtown location for the month of July, from 9 to 11:30. There were kids of all ages participating, from preschool to teenagers. Those who didn’t play an instrument were singing and learning dance steps, so everyone participated in the performance.
I stayed long enough to hear two pieces being played, and, you know, they did pretty good for a first rehearsal after a 4-day break. Not everyone was perfect (all of them were better than I would be), but I’ve heard worse performances by groups who were getting paid. I was blown away by the youngsters playing the violin (an instrument that always frightened me), but all the sections did well.
If you are interested in the program, you can get into contact with
MJ Alma de México
Academy of music and performing arts
The summer day camp is meeting at:
7541 Monterey St
Gilroy, CA 95020
Click on an image to see a larger view or a slide show.