In the competitive world of high school mariachi, the musicians from the South Texas borderlands reign supreme. Under the guidance of Coach Abel Acuña, the teenage captains of Edinburg North High School’s acclaimed team must turn a shoestring budget and diverse crew of inexperienced musicians into state champions.
As they struggle to maintain command of their team, the three young women who captain the varsity squad must also navigate their final year of high school. In this economically depressed region of South Texas, as one teacher puts it, “there’s no plan b for us.” To take their next step in life, the three girls must be all in.
This documentary is centered on the experience that millions of first, second, and third generation Mexican-Americans have, which is characterized best by the phrase “ni de aqui, ni de alla,” of being from neither here nor there. It’s a feeling that the filmmakers felt growing up in families that pull from a hodge-podge of their Mexican and American roots. GOING VARSITY IN MARIACHI reveals a concerted effort by a Texan latinx community to respond to this question of cultural identity and offer its young people some measure of solid footing–to show them the beauty, thrills, and joy of their heritage.
Spurred by the beauty and resilience in the music, the musicians of Mariachi Oro embody the spirit, vivacity, and future of mariachi.