FORT WORTH — For the past few weeks, mariachi students at Fort Worth’s North Side High School have been scrambling to raise money to travel and perform at Carnegie Hall in New York City.With the help of the Fort Worth school district, local businesses and individuals, the 23-member group has raised the cash for the trip but is still short in paying for concert fees and other expenses for the June 22 event.“We are going, but we still need help,” said Ramon Nino III, director of North Side’s Mariachi Espuelas de Plata. “These kids have a great opportunity and we want them to experience everything on this trip.”A year ago, North Side officials applied to perform at Carnegie Hall but were denied. But in April, school officials received an invitation to perform at the famed hall.“We had them send multiple clips,” said Kevin Taylor of Distinguished Concerts International New York, the company that produces shows at Carnegie Hall. “It was a great-sounding mariachi band.”The Mariachi Espuleas De Plata also had the résumé. The band won first place in the high school division in the Mariachi Spectacular de Albuquerque last summer and finished second out of 10 Class 5A and 4A schools in Texas high school competition in February. Officials say the trip to New York is going to cost about $52,000 and that the students need $6,000 to reach their goal.“We’ve been able to find help all over the city, but we’re just a bit short,” Nino said.The school district, the school’s alumni association, businesses and residents have helped. Mariachi students have played for donations at Joe T. Garcia’s, Dos Molina, Esperanza’s Bakery and Cafe, and a host of other restaurants.A local Fort Worth band, Latin Express, even put on a dance with proceeds going to the Carnegie Hall concert.“I’m very excited about playing there,” said North Side sophomore Yadira Triana, who plays the violin in the mariachi band. “… I just think New York will be a great opportunity.”Taylor said the appearance by the Fort Worth group will be the first Carnegie Hall concert by a professional or high school mariachi band in seven years. “I think they are a perfect fit for what we are producing,” Taylor said.
Domingo Ramirez Jr., 817-390-7763 Twitter: @mingoramirezjr