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Mariachi, folklórico lovers keep Noche de las Estrellas shining

Sunnyside mariachi director Cuco Del Cid directs practice for students (from left) Dulce Lopez, Gabriela Valenzuela and Genesis Mora Delhoyo.

Sunnyside mariachi director Cuco Del Cid directs practice for students (from left) Dulce Lopez, Gabriela Valenzuela and Genesis Mora Delhoyo.

Sunnyside High School’s Noche de las Estrellas, an annual event for nearly two decades, almost fell dim – and silent – this year.

“With the economy the way it is, we talked about not having it,” said Cuco Del Cid, the mariachi director at the school. “But the students from mariachi groups from schools all over town who perform here said, ‘That’s impossible. We wait for this all year.’”

So the 18th annual two-day event, which celebrates mariachi music and traditional Mexican folklórico dance, will go on.

It begins Friday with a pageant and talent contest from 6 to 9 p.m. in the auditorium at Sunnyside High, 1725 E. Bilby Road.

From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, “Plaza Garibaldi” will feature performances by student mariachi and dance groups from elementary, middle and high schools around the city and from Mexico.

Admission is free. There will be carnival games and booths with traditional food and drink

The Noche de las Estrellas concert will be held from 6 to 10:30 p.m. Saturday in the auditorium. Admission is $10. The headliners are Folklorico Tapatío; Sunnyside High’s mariachi, Los Diablitos; and Desert View High’s Mariachi del Desierto. They will perform along with Sunnyside Assistant Superintendent Jeannie Favela, a former professional singer. The groups and Favela recently recorded the CD “Una Familia.”

Del Cid said the event is “a lot of work, a lot of work, but we enjoy it very much and it helps teach many kids the most traditional Mexican music.”

Del Cid, a professional mariachi for years in Mexico City with Mariachi los Camperos, has taught at Sunnyside for 16 years.

He loves preparing students for performances and for their future.

College is of utmost importance to Del Cid. “Of course, I tell my kids to go to college.

“When I came to work here, I told the principal I would do it on one condition – that we teach them the music, the instruments, but we don’t want just mariachis.

“I want them to become lawyers, doctors, pharmacists and other professionals who also know how to be mariachi musicians.

“They can and should still play in groups or play as a hobby when they grow up, but be a doctor for a living.”

Proceeds from the event go to college scholarships for the district performers.

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