Rosie’s House was founded in 1996 to give children from low-income families the opportunity to enjoy enriching experiences with music. The Phoenix academy, which provides free music instruction and loaned instruments to underserved Phoenix-area students, recently announced that it’s starting the city’s largest tuition-free mariachi training program.
Rosie’s House currently teaches music to 358 students each week. Auditions for the mariachi program take place in December, and the program will begin in January 2013, according to Rosie’s House Executive Director Becky Bell.
When its 2012-13 season started last month, Rosie’s House welcomed 255 returning and 103 new students, who’ll train with 18 faculty members while using 215 loaned instruments. During the summer, 25 Rosie’s House students received scholarships to music camps with the Arizona Flute Society, National Music Festival and Arizona School for the Arts, where 17-year-old Rosie’s House student Yinka Shonaike is now a senior.
“I’ve been classically trained in choir and clarinet for four years,” says Shonaike, who is working now on Brahms’ “Clarinet Sonata No. 1.” After finishing afternoon lessons at Rosie’s House, Shonaike mentors a group of eight younger musicians who study there as well.
“Rosie’s House really helped me grow,” says Shonaike. “They’ve taught me techniques and the teachers take time to listen to my struggles. They really believe in me, and that’s what I really need to progress.”
Parents and students interested in learning more about the Rosie’s House mariachi training program can attend a free interactive workshop called Mariachi 101 from 3:30-4:30pm on Saturday, Oct. 27 at Rosie’s House, located at 1875 N. Central Ave. in Phoenix. The event features a performance by an ASU mariachi ensemble, and a presentation by ASU faculty associate Jeff Nevin, Ph.D., on the history and tradition of mariachi music. Nevin is the new mariachi instructor at the ASU School of Music, and is working with Rosie’s House to create the new curriculum for its mariachi program. Nevin is a professional classical trumpet player, an award-winning composer and a conductor specializing in the interpretation of Mexican music. He authored a book titled Virtuoso Mariachi and a set of Mariachi Mastery method books used to teach mariachi in classroom settings.
The new mariachi program, a collaboration with the ASU School of Music, will provide training for 50 students from low-income families. Grant support from the Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust will help to pay for sheet music, uniforms, curriculum materials and teachers. Carol Kratz, program director with the trust, notes that the mariachi program is “an excellent vehicle for building intergenerational connections” and reminder of “the importance of preserving cultural traditions.”
Middle school and high school students ages 12 to 18 can audition to participate in the training program on violin, trumpet, guitar, vihuela and guitarron. Selected students will be placed in one of three ensembles.
Rosie’s House officially launches its mariachi training program at the Arizona Latino Arts and Cultural Center in downtown Phoenix at 6pm on Tuesday, Nov. 13. The evening will feature mariachi music performance, time for exploring artworks in various ALAC galleries, spicy appetizers and beverages.
The music academy is performing several additional concerts this season, including two October concerts that are part of the Rosie’s House community performance series:
- 5pm Monday, Oct. 15 – A performance for patients, families and staff in the lobby of Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center in Phoenix.
- 7pm Tuesday, Oct. 13 – A performance for residents of the Friendship Village retirement community in Tempe.
- 3pm Saturday, Dec. 13 – A holiday concert featuring classical and festive repertoire at the Rosie’s House campus in Phoenix.
- 7pm Monday, May 13 – The annual Great Performers’ Concert, featuring winners of the Great Performers’ Competition, the most advanced students performing classical repertoire, at Steele Indian School Park in Phoenix.
Click here to learn more about Rosie’s House mission, programs and events.