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A Chicago high school band just got the distinct honor of being nominated for a Latin Grammy award.

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A high school band usually consists of the typical marching band team members, not very often is a mariachi band considered a high school band. However, Mariachi Herencia de Mexico, an ensemble of students from Chicago’s immigrant barrios, is here to defy all expectations.

Their CD titled, “Nuesta Herencia (Our Heritage),” has just scored a 2017 Latin Grammy nomination in the category of “Best Ranchero/Mariachi Album.” The high school band group has members who range in age from 11 to 18. They recently had the honor to headline at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. for a celebration of Mexican Independence Day.

Released on May 17, the album ranked No. 2 in its first week on iTunes’ Latin chart when it was released by the Chicago-based Mariachi Heritage Foundation, according to CBS. The group featured a multitude of different artists on the award nominated album such as Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlána (a revered institution in the genre), Sol de Mexico, Los Camperos, and the all-female group, Reyna de Los Angeles, and includes tributes to Mexican music legends Juan Gabriel and José Alfredo Jiménez.

Producer by LA based mariachi master, Jose Hernandez, described the program “as one of those labor of love things.” The funding for the project was backed by Chicagoan native, César Maldonado, whose parents were immigrants from Durango, Mexico. Cesar’s parents worked in a factory and knew little English.

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Cesar excelled in school and grew up to become an investment banker. It was his start-up was a non-profit foundation that promoted mariachi music instruction in Chicago public schools and created a classroom incubator for the talent on the album.

“It’s beyond anything we thought to accomplish. These kids have a passion for the music,” he said.

The band members and their families will fly to Las Vegas on Thursday for the Latin Grammy Awards, and they’re hopeful their hard work will pay off. We will be watching proudly when the ceremony airs on Nov. 16.

The Grammy Awards are the music industry’s version of the Academy Awards. And as the years go by more and more talent is widely recognized for an iconic sound. Those considered prestigious enough for the honor of a Grammy have to have recognizable talent.

Chicago is so proud to have an honored band from our hometown.

Talented Chicago school mariachi band nabs a Grammy nomination Wikimedia
Mariana writes for Rare Chicago.
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