Eloy Martinez didn't fall into Zapata High School's mariachi band as much as he was completely bowled over by it. Six years ago, he was a fifth grader sitting in an office at the high school in Zapata, Texas, when he first heard the band playing down the hall.
He ran over and had put his ear against the door when the band's director spotted him and invited him in to watch the group practice.
"That first day I just sat there watching, listening," Martinez recalled. "I didn't play any instrument and I thought, I don't know what this is, but I like it."
He ran back to his mom and immediately had her change his schedule -- removing athletics activities that he had planned to pursue -- just so he could join the middle school's mariachi group. He picked up a violin and learned fast, and his agile singing voice impressed his teachers, »
- Lucas Kavner
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