SWA Community.

As a Company that works hard every day to provide Positively Outrageous Service to each one of our Customers, we take pride in the history and Culture that we have built our airline upon as well as the wonderful Customers who keep us in business. We work tirelessly to earn their loyalty and we support their communities by building strong, mutually beneficial, strategic relationships that keep these communities thriving. This month we celebrate Mariachi Scholarship Foundation for expanding educational opportunities and enriching the lives of our children, while keeping mariachi music alive! I hope to see you at this year’s San Diego International Mariachi Summit!

San Diego International Mariachi Summit

Southwest Airlines is thrilled to once again be presenting the 2017 San Diego International Mariachi Summit from August 16th through the 19th, benefitting the Mariachi Scholarship Foundation. Since 1996, the Mariachi Scholarship Foundation (MSF) has promoted mariachi studies in San Diego and raised money to help mariachi and ballet folklórico students attend college when they graduate. To date they have awarded more than $450,000 in college scholarships that have helped these students attend colleges across the country. Former mariachi students have attended MIT, Harvard, Stanford, and of course, many local universities.

One recent scholarship winner shared how participation in mariachi classes affected her life: while in middle school, her father was arrested and went to prison, and all of her friends started doing drugs and getting into trouble. Her freshman year in high school, she received failing grades and feared she would have to drop out of school. One day she heard the mariachi rehearsing after school and it sounded and looked like so much fun, she asked the teacher if she could join. “The best part about it was, now I had all new friends!” Her new friends were a good influence and she had a new activity that made her want to come to school every day. Best of all, her grades improved immediately. Despite such poor grades her freshman year, she graduated with a 3.4 grade point average overall!

Such is the power of music education in schools, and in many parts of San Diego this is the impact that mariachi education specifically has on some students. Bringing generations of families together, connecting parents with their child’s school, providing students with self-esteem-building experiences, and beautifying the entire community with music and dance.

Southwest Airlines is once again helping the Mariachi Scholarship Foundation make this happen. The MSF celebrated their 20th anniversary in 2016 with the first ever Mariachi Summit, and is following up on last year’s success with an even bigger line-up this year! The Gala Concert on August 18 features the Ballet Folklórico from the University of Guadalajara which is made up of an incredible 62 members. Also performing will be one of the greatest mariachis in the world, direct from Jalisco, Mariachi Nuevo Tecalitlán, performing alongside San Diego’s own Symphonic Mariachi Champaña Nevin and the Orquesta de Baja California from Tijuana. This 2-hour and 45-minute spectacle will delight and amaze the entire family with its fusion of the greatest Mexican ballet in the world with traditional and classical Mexican music.

Southwest Airlines has generously donated airline tickets that will bring students and instructors to San Diego to participate in the Summit. In addition, the money raised through the Gala Concert and donations will go directly towards college scholarships for graduating students. The MSF also used Southwest’s international tickets this past June to fly mariachi teachers from around the country to Mexico for the Chacala Mariachi Institute, about an hour north of Puerto Vallarta. Building on the MSF’s mission to promote and advance mariachi education, the Chacala Mariachi Institute, directed by Southwestern College Professor Jeff Nevin, seeks to standardize and improve mariachi education across the country.

Over the last 20 years, the MSF has awarded more than 450 scholarships to students. Currently there are at least 12 scholarship winners pursuing their bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree in Music, and at least 10 who are currently working as mariachi teachers around the country. Most scholarship winners pursue a field other than music in college, but the experiences that mariachi music afforded them and the impact it had on their lives, will live on with them forever.