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88Nine Radio Milwaukee

Today's stream is sponsored by Maxie's

World-class music education for Latino kids

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Student string musicians at the United Community Center are gearing up for a season-ending concert this Friday.

They've been working on their pieces all year, as part of the Latino Arts Strings Program, or "Mariachi Juvenil."

"We provide the students with everything they need, their instruments, their private instructions, small group classes," said Dinorah Marquez, director and founder of the strings program.  

The primary goal of the program, Marquez says, is to make it affordable to families.  Latino Arts offers the whole experience for about $60 a year, including instruments and lessons.

Students study classical music and theory, but since many the young people come from immigrant families, Marquez includes traditional mariachi music in the curriculum.

"We explore our instruments by playing music from Mexico and Latin America.  This is going to bring in our families," Marquez said.

Participation has exploded in the 10 years since the program was established, growing from about 20 students to more than 170 today.  

For information on the July 12 concert at the United Community Center near 9th and Mineral Streets, call (414) 384-3100

To find out more about the Latino Arts Strings Program, visit its official website or Facebook page.