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Rhythm of life

Barco crafts song for mariachi group based on family experiences

A beautiful melody of instruments and voices fills the air as the crowd listens in awe. When the song finishes, the audience applauds as the composer bows in appreciation. Junior Juan Barco wrote and composed a song for the mariachi group Los Vikingos to perform at UIL competitions, resulting in high praise and recognition from across the state.

When Juan found out the mariachi group needed another song for the UIL contest, he stepped in to fill the gap like no other student had before.

“Mr. Mosqueda, the mariachi teacher, told me we didn’t have a third song for state, so I texted him, ‘Hey, what if I told you I could write you a song right now?’ And he said yes.” Juan said. “I wanted the song to be a sing-along, which was pretty tough because I had to make it catchy and something the mariachi group could play and enjoy.”

Along with wanting the song to sound good, Juan also wanted to encapsulate a deeper meaning in the piece, drawing inspiration from his mom.

“My mom told me about her work and how they neglected to acknowledge all the work she did,” Juan said. “The song is a statement of how much she gave that went unnoticed. I switched the perspective from a workplace to a relationship so it could be more relatable and people could sing along to it. It’s about telling someone how much you gave to them and that you promise to them that once you’re gone, you won’t come back.”

Mr. Mosqueda is proud of how far Juan has come and is excited to see where he takes his music in the future.

“Once they recruited me here, my passion grew because there were so many sounds in my head that I wanted to get out,” Juan said. “I didn’t know how to read or write music at all, so I had to learn how to read staff and listen to isolated instruments to know what they should sound like in a mariachi song.”

Creating something unique is a milestone for many students, but having his peers play his song meant a lot to Juan.

“It felt so good to have the mariachi group play my song and for others to hear it,” Juan said. “The group had a tough time playing it because it’s a brand new song they had never heard before, so I was so happy once it started to come together. I could not stop smiling; it was gratifying hearing them all sing back to me.”

Because of all the hard work Juan put into the song and the mariachi group, he was able to succeed at UIL.

“At UIL, I got the award for outstanding individual performer,” Juan said. “I don’t know if it was for my song, but I like to think it was.”

Having Los Vikingos play Juan’s song was a surreal experience for him, allowing his talent to shine.

“Juan has developed a lot over the last few years,” Mosqueda said. “He came in very talented but has learned more about the music theory aspect of mariachi rather than just what sounds good.”

Juan plays viola, golpe, guitar, and trumpet outside of mariachi. Because of his diverse skill set, Mosqueda recognizes his impact on the group in the two years he has been involved.

“Juan is hardworking, diligent, and a great student in my class overall,” Mosqueda said. He is very attentive and knows a lot about music. I wish Juan had been in mariachi sooner because we could have expanded on his natural talent if we had gotten ahold of him a little earlier.”

Along with Juan’s teacher, his peers have also noticed Juan’s contributions to the mariachi group.

“Juan takes on a big leadership role as the armonia section leader, which is basically the guitars and violas,” senior Aryana Peña said. “He keeps our mariachi group together and is a tremendous help to Mr. Mosqueda.”

The members of Los Vikingos have enjoyed being part of Juan’s song and are glad they could help bring it to life.

“I love the song Juan wrote,” Aryana said. “It is very catchy, and you can tell he put a lot of work into it.”

Juan looks forward to expanding his music career and is excited to see where it takes him.

“I really want to get into music after high school,” Juan said. “I have been doing it since sixth grade, and I don’t see myself doing anything else.”

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Reily Dominy
Reily Dominy, Editor
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