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About the Program

Mariachi High
was featured in the 2012 PBS Arts Summer Festival.

Premiere Date: June 29, 2012

In a part of America that rarely makes headlines, there is a small town with a group of teenagers who will captivate your ears and warm your heart.

Mariachi High presents a year in the life of the champion mariachi ensemble at Zapata High School on the Rio Grande in South Texas. At a time when the Latino dropout rate is the highest nationwide, intolerance towards immigrants is growing and public school funding is being cut, Mariachi High turns a much-needed affirmative lens on teens who are pursuing excellence through a connection to their cultural heritage.

Beginning with the beguiling awkwardness of high-stakes band auditions, showing dramatic competitions like the San Antonio Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza, and ending with graduation, viewers will see the students moving from school to stage in fierce contests filled with the fire of musical virtuosity and traditional trajes de charro dress. Before the cameras, the students discover their own unique voices and the richness of a heritage they are learning to embrace. 

As they compete and perform with musical virtuosity, these teens and the music they make will inspire, surprise, and bring you to your feet. This is an exuberant coming-of-age documentary about the brightest, most driven and talented Mexican American teenagers never seen on screen. High school never sounded so good.


Mariachi High was co-produced by RubyLake, LLC, Latino Public Broadcasting and the Independent Television Service, and produced in association with Chicken and Egg Pictures.

Visit the official Mariachi High website for more info.

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PBS Arts made possible with funding from: Anne Ray Charitable Trust | National Endowment for the Arts