Los Cascabelitos

BVH student-made mariachi group

Lilyanna Luna-Salazar, Photographer

Six Bonita Vista High students meet at senior Thomas Boyd’s aunt’s house on Jan. 17 for a family party. They hide their instruments in one of the bedrooms, waiting for a surprise performance. Later on, they gather their instruments and begin playing on the porch. The group performed as a birthday surprise for Boyd’s grandpa, bringing a smile to his face as he listened to the melody brought about by the harmony of the instruments, including the guitar, guitarron, charango, violin and trumpet. As they played, the audience listened and passed around a sombrero so they could donate money to the group. At the end of their first gig, the group realized that they could become something much bigger.


“We had a lot of fun playing in school and we thought just one hour of mariachi wasn’t enough to make us happy, so we started playing outside of school,” senior Ricardo Dollero said.


They played their first performance together on Sunday, January 27. The songs played were a combination of originally composed and some mariachi covers.  


“We would hang out, and whenever we would hang out we were just practicing songs for mariachi [class]. Then we started making our own little songs and just messing around and having fun,” trumpet player and junior Sarah Zermeño-Soto said.


BVH students Zermeño-Soto, Boyd, Dollero, junior Angelo Franso, junior William Minshew and senior Josiah Mundo made their own mariachi group named Los Cascabelitos. The name is inspired by the song El Cascabel.


“The whole point of the song is [that] there’s an original version and every instrument has a solo in the song. Different groups will play the song and then they’ll make up their own solo for [their part] so it varies a lot,” Zermeño-Soto said.


The group all began with the current members socializing and taking the same Mariachi class together. Within Mariachi there were smaller groups of students who played with one another, leading to the group making their own clique within. They mostly get together after school at  Zermeño-Soto’s House to play. They practice songs for mariachi as well as their own music.


“We will alter songs, what you would consider a cover or a remix. We turned [them] into our own songs. We’ll just start playing with a pattern and we’ll add to it. Then it just becomes something,” Zermeño-Soto said.


Each group member plays their individual instruments and it brings them a variety of different emotions. Playing Mariachi music is more than just a class for these students, it’s a passion.


“Every time I play I’m just super happy. I start smiling the whole time, It’s amazing and when I see my other group members’ faces, it’s also extremely happy,” Dollero said.


While playing individually brings them positive feelings, playing together is more enjoyable to some of the members.


“It’s really interesting. It’s like a feeling of togetherness. When we’re making songs together but we all have our individual skills and then we put it together to make something even cooler. It’s exciting for me,” Boyd said.


The group members actively demonstrate their support for one another.They give one another advice and pep talks, along with teaching one another notes and just mutually helping each other.


“I enjoy the group. It’s amazing. They changed my life because without them, I wouldn’t be passionate about mariachi,” Dollero said.


While progress has been made with getting a gig, the group still has goals to accomplish for making their group better.


“We’re definitely working on spreading our name around and seeing if people at least like what we’re doing, or at least family friends or something like to start off small,” Zermeño-Soto said.


Each member practices every day in Mariachi, outside of school, together and additionally on their own time. Despite some of the members having different plans aside from Mariachi in the future, each member tries their best.


“We want to do it for life as a career,” Boyd said.


Individually they each have a dream about where they want a career with music however, there is also a dream for the future for all of them together.


“Our distant dream of ours is that one day we will go around backpacking Europe just playing and just having fun and even if we don’t make money from it, it’s  the experience that we hope to one day achieve because it’s a bucket list kind of thing. So that’s definitely out there,” Zermeño-Soto said.