Chicago Area Music Students Become Stars of Their Own Disney Show with Performances at Walt Disney World Resort

Mariachi Heritage Foundation Student Ensembles take part in Disney Performing Arts programs at Disney Springs during July 4th weekend

Mariachi Heritage Foundation Student Ensembles from Chicago, IL entertained Walt Disney World Resort guests with their performance at Disney Springs during the Fourth of July weekend.

The students, led by Mariachi Heritage Foundation Student Ensembles founder Cesar Maldonado and music director Roberto Martinez, stepped into the spotlight at Disney Springs this past weekend and showcased their up-tempo, rhythmic Mexican-style music for Disney guests from across the nation and around the world.

During their six-day trip, the students also immersed themselves in a Disney Performing Arts custom mariachi workshop at Epcot where students learned the essentials of tonality and dynamics under the guidance of the Mariachi Cobre, the professional mariachi band that regularly performs in Epcot. After their workshop, the students watch a Mariachi Cobre performance at Epcot’s Mexico Pavilion and eventually performed with the band at the end of their set.

“These are kids that come from underserved neighborhoods and low-income working-class families,’’ said Maldonado. “The thought of them coming to Disney World was something very far from what reality was for them, so we are very happy that we made this work and Disney is the right place for us to continue to do this.’’

Martinez, the group’s music director, is a former member of the Mariachi Cobre at Epcot, performing with them for 33 years.

“I tell my kids up north: I’m not here to impress you; I’m here to impress upon you the importance of music and what it can do for your life,’’ Martinez said. “And that’s what I try to show them.”

The group of 32 student musicians traveled over 1,500 miles from Illinois to Florida to participate in the popular Disney program. This was the Mariachi Heritage Foundation’s first visit to the Walt Disney World Resort with Disney Performing Arts.

Vocal, instrumental and dance ensembles from all around the world apply to perform each year as part of Disney Performing Arts at both the Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort. Once selected, they are given the opportunity to perform amongst an international audience of Disney theme park guests. Millions of performers have graced the stages of the Disney Parks in the more than 25-year history of the program.

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