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North Side Mariachi Ensemble Wins Top Honors At Nationals 20

Playing in a high school band can be a life-changing experience.

Interested in learning more about mariachis? NPR’s Code Switch team investigated the distinctive yell one might hear at a performance. Learn more here.

But being in one of the best high school bands in the entire United States? That’s the sort of thing that fills you with a self-confidence that can carry you through high school and into adulthood.

The members of Mariachi Espuelas de Plata [“Silver Spurs”] now have that feeling. According to the Fort Worth Independent School District, the North Side High School band was named Grand Champion at the Jose Hernandez Mariachi Nationals in Los Angeles Saturday.

Watch Mariachi Espuelas de Plata perform at the 2016 Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza in Mexico City in the video above.

The victory comes at the end of a wonderful year for the mariachi ensemble and just days before the new school year begins.

Last school year, the group was awarded a First Division rating from each of the judges in the state UIL competition. And the district says the group has been creating an impressive reputation throughout the country, including performing at the world-renowned Carnegie Hall in 2014.

After the ensemble received a standing ovation from the New York City audience, they took their show to the streets, and pedestrians couldn’t help but watch the show.


Mariachi Espuelas de Plata isn’t the first band in North Texas to be named grand champions at the Mariachi nationals. Last year, Mariachi Sol Azteca from Grand Prairie received the top prize (click here to see a profile of Mariachi Sol Azteca’s conductor).