A free mariachi summer camp in the city of Santa Rosa spreads the love for Mexico’s music in Northern California.
Thirteen-year-old Jose Ramon Gonzalez Chavez usually spends summers lying on his bed at home or on his cell phone.
But this year, he’s at Cook Middle School in Santa Rosa learning how to strum the guitarron – the big bass guitar that’s a trademark of Mariachi music.
Chavez is one of 50 kids attending California’s only Mariachi Summer Camp for beginners.
Many of them come from Mexican families and have heard Mariachi music at parties and gatherings, but never picked up an instrument. Their parents can’t afford it or their schools just don’t teach music.