1120 South Grand

Roswell, NM  88203

(575) 625-2886

Practice Days & Times

Tuesdays & Thursdays

5:30 pm – 7:00 pm

Visitors Welcome

Executive Board of Directors

Del Carmona, President

Jose Luis Hernandez, Vice President

Charlotte Andrade, Secretary

Edubina R. Morales, Treasurer

Board Members

R.G. “Bobby” Villegas

Jose Zavala


     In September of 2008, representatives from Lions Club International approached Bobby Villegas to see if S.O.Y. Mariachi would like to be a part of Lions Club International.  It seems that LCI did not have a youth group of this type in their system.  An agreement was reached, that with the support of Lions Club International, Bobby Villegas and S.O.Y. Mariachi Lions Club – Roswell would proceed to create new S.O.Y. Mariachi Schools anywhere Lions Clubs exist.

     In March of 2009, Sid L. Scruggs III, Vice President  and Jack Ferguson, both of Lions Club International  - The Lions Mentoring Program, came down from their respective states, to inaugurate our new club. Lions Club International then donated $10,000 to help fund our S.O.Y. Mariachi School. 

     On September 26, 2009, Bobby Villegas and S.O.Y. Mariachi Performing group and instructors traveled to Carlsbad, NM, and performed for two hours and held a workshop for parents, kids, and volunteer instructors from Carlsbad.  At that time, names were taken for the new S.O.Y. Mariachi Lions Club – Carlsbad.



     S.O.Y. Mariachi stands for Save Our Youth, a program started by adult members of the community to help today’s youth and encourage the six pillars of Character Counts adopted in our School system.

     Although, S.O.Y. Mariachi is not a school sponsored program, we follow the basic rules and guidelines in order to support our youth in a professional and caring way.


                                                             “Play a song, teach a child!”


  1.    To organize from our community performing youth mariachi groups.

  2.     To establish within the community, without regard to ethnicity or gender, a positive cultural arts program and multicultural youth role models, who can demonstrate unity, discipline, commitment, inter-age cooperation and the desire to learn.

  3.     To demonstrate to youths that adults are willing to commit time, effort, and assets in return for positive and constructive behavior.

  4.     To effect self-image, self confidence, group and individual pride; to teach personal skills and talents which will learn from and add to the rich tradition of mariachi and its music.


1.During rehearsal and especially during performances, limit talking to before and after, not during.  If you absolutely have to talk, do it in a whispering manner. Remember, the audience wants to hear you play…not talk.

2.The audience is always watching you. Never act in a way that will embarrass you, a fellow musician or the group.

3.As performers, we are guests.  Use words such as “please” ad “thank you”.  The word “yeah” is not in our vocabulary.  Yes ma’am, no ma’am, yes sir and no sir are the only acceptable responses you should use.  In other words…BE POLITE.

4.Cursing is in no way allowed at any time!  Our audience is expecting professional behavior and performing.  We will give them that.

5.Always keep track of your own instrument.  Don’t rely on anyone else.  Don’t use your instrument as a weapon against each other.  Remember professionalism!

6.When warming up or tuning do it quietly and quickly.  When you are finished, stay quiet and wait until we perform.

7.At end of each song, we “bow” together.  In your mind, say hippopotamus…NOT OUT LOUD.

8.Always show a smile on your face.  This is part of performing.  Even if you miss a note, still smile!!

  1. 1.After a performance, thank the person or persons who invited us. This is how we get invited back.


1.Each member will start each rehearsal with being on time.  You should report to the rehearsal room 30 minutes before we begin.  During this time, you should warm up, tune and take care of any other business.

2.There is absolutely no gum, candy, food, drinks or cell phones  allowed in class.  A break room has been designated, and can be used only before or after class. 

3.Have your music and pencil at every rehearsal.  Although, we memorize our music, we write down important information on music to perform it better.

4.Once rehearsal starts, please don’t talk or fool around.  Our time to rehearse is limited.  We want to teach you as much as we can.  If you have a question, raise you hand and instructor or conductor will help you with what you need.  Please don’t take away from the group’s time.

5.Since we only play as a group, please don’t continue to play your instruments when we stop.  It’s hard for the director to give suggestions to the whole group when there is someone playing.  Remember, we stop to fix problems, not for you to play.

6.Please be on time.  If you are going to be late, call Bobby Villegas (625-2886) and leave a message for S.O.Y. Mariachi to that effect.  This will be considered an excused tardy.

7.If you cannot make rehearsal, you MUST call Bobby Villegas or Jose Luis Hernandez and leave a message for S.O.Y. Mariachi.  This will be considered an excused absence.

8.We have lots of performances.  When an event takes place in which the S.O.Y. Mariachi has been asked to play, we will give you ample time to make the proper arrangements to attend.  You are expected to attend that event and be on time (which is 30 minutes early for tuning, warming up, etc.)  Again, if you cannot attend, you MUST call an instructor or the director and explain why you cannot go.  A list of instructors is listed.

  1. 9.       Parents can listen to our group during rehearsals IF the parents can be quiet and not talk.  It is distracting when there is noise in the background.



     Thirteen years ago, I contacted Jose Luis Hernandez, Paul Fresquez and my associate, Edubina Morales and asked for their help in organizing a program to teach young students how to play mariachi music.  We worked on a mission statement and Paul came up with what is now our incorporated name of S.O.Y. (Save Our Youth) Mariachi.  The next job was to find volunteer instructors.  Del Carmona and John Cordova both offered their help as guitar, guitarron and vihuela instructors.  Orlando Padilla, past officer, brought in Dr. Sara Montgomery as violin instructor.  I found Jorge Valenzuela at Goddard High School and he came in as music director.

     The next problem we encountered was that none of us knew mariachi music, and we had no students.  RISD then superintendent, Amarante Fresquez, approved our offer to solicit all students in the school system.  The first year, we raised money and took our instructors and our first beginning students to our first five day mariachi conference where we learned about mariachi music. 

     Today, S.O.Y. Mariachi is an all volunteer, free school of music for students of five years to 18 years of age.  The instruction and music is free.  If a student does not have an instrument, it is provided.  It is also a scholarship based program.  When a student learns 20-25 songs, they become members of the performing group.  There is a local fee of $350.00 per hour when the group performs for weddings, quinceneras and other occasions.  The monies donated for their performance is then divided by the students and that money goes to their scholarship fund.  The agreement between the parents and S.O.Y. Mariachi is that the funds are only available upon graduation from high school.  To date, students average between $2,000 and $2,500 per scholarship, and we have awarded over $14,000 since the inception of the program. Most of these students, go on to college and earn extra income by playing with local mariachi groups. 

     Several years ago, we rented and with the help of funding and support from our State legislature, we remodeled an old building from Chaves County, which is now the S.O.Y. MARIACHI CULTURAL & EDUCATIONAL Center.   Currently, work is under construction to build a full recording studio for our students to record, learn engineering and also to rent the studio out for additional funding.

     I want to offer special thanks to our instructors, parents, students, elected officials, and our community, for without all their volunteer work, this dedicated program would not exist.

—R.G. “Bobby” Villegas, Founding Director

Left to Right: Manuel Zavala, Mayela Jimenez, Bobby Villegas, Ivon Loya, Ismael Palacios,

Ivonne Ponce, Jesus Ponce, Sirena Madril and Jose Luis Hernandez.

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