University of Houston getting new mariachi band

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The University of Houston is getting a new mariachi band and students have a chance to be a part of it!

The Mariachi Pumas will make its debut in December and the school is hosting a recruiting event for those interested in joining.

The campus-wide event will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 9, from 4 to 5 p.m. at the entrance of Student Center South and Wilhelmina's Grove.

A mariachi group typically consists of at least two violinists, two trumpeters, one Spanish guitarist, one vihuela player, which plays a high pitched five-string guitar, and a guitarrón player. A guitarrón is a small acoustic bass.

The group will reside in the Moores School of Music in the Kathrine G. McGovern College of the Arts, which, according to UH, has seen international success with its existing ensembles, including the Concert Chorale, AURA Contemporary Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble and Symphony Orchestra.

"I'm thrilled that we are filling this critical gap in our musical offerings," said dean of the Kathrine G. McGovern College of the Arts, Andrew Davis. "The University of Houston is a designated Hispanic-Serving Institution, and Houston is a center for Mexican culture in the United States. By adding a mariachi ensemble to our offerings, we are bringing our arts programs up to date with options that reflect the diversity of our community and our student body."

The Pumas, which is Spanish for 'cougars', will be led by Jose Longoria, who has taught mariachi for HISD. In addition to playing at events on the UH campus, the Mariachi Pumas will perform at special events around Houston.

Money from those events will help support travel to conferences, workshops and other activities.

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