Nogales High School’s Mariachi Apache was recently selected as the opening musical act at the 2012 National School Board Association Conference in Boston. The group was chosen as one of three groups to perform at the conference from a nationwide pool. It’s a huge honor for the students, and also for their master teacher, Gilbert Velez.
Gilbert Velez is no stranger to national AND international recognition. His illustrious career as a master mariachi, educator, and a 9th degree Karate Black Belt has taken him around the world. His resume is astounding-He has performed with several award winning groups including Mariachi Cobre and Los Changuitos Feos, America’s first homegrown mariachi band, founded in Tucson in 1964. He’s also held a number of leadership positions including Commissioner of Arts and Culture for the City of Tucson, Educational Director of the Tucson International Mariachi Congress and Professor of Mariachi Studies at the University of Arizona. Over the years he’s also run an acclaimed martial arts studio, “Velez Kenpo Karate”, and an award winning restaurant, “El Mariachi.”
Gilbert Velez’’s many contributions to the arts in Arizona are featured as part of the MIM’s Celebration of 100 Years of Arizona Music – running though Jan. 6, 2013.
Additional Audio: Gilbert Velez remembers the birth of America’s first homegrown mariachi band, Los Changuitos Feos.
The talented Mariachi Apache, from Nogales High School, Arizona:
(or you can click here to see the video on YouTube)
(All images are courtesy of Gilbert Velez and The MIM)