Auditions were announced and Mariachi Berea, began taking shape at Berea College in the fall of 2015. Hispanic culture is the fastest growing demographic in Appalachia, and we felt that having a Mariachi band is a way to expand representation of and exposure to those cultural roots. Like other Berea College musical ensembles, Mariachi Berea holds auditions for membership, and awards academic credit for each semester of involvement. Mariachi music began emerging from the Mexican State of Jalisco around 150 years ago, and is now considered the National Music of Mexico. The music is played at a very high level of expertise, led by powerful vocals sung in Spanish, and accompanied by trumpets, violins, and a rhythm section of guitar, vihuela (small 5-string Mexican guitar) and guitarrón, the traditional mariachi bass instrument. The music is quite challenging, but also very fun to play and audiences love it! Mariachi Berea is directed by Al White and assisted by Genaro Rascon.