Music Major Leaves Mark With Mariachi Group and UCDC

By Laila Rashid, CHASS Dean’s Office Student Intern
June 28, 2013

The first time Johanna Prado ever stepped foot onto UCR’s campus, she promised herself she was not going to be just another student ID. As a fourth year music major, the founder/director of a student-formed mariachi group, and a representative in UCDC, she has made a major impact during her college career. As a first generation Latina college student, Johanna did not originally envision herself at a university. It was not until she picked up her first instrument, a clarinet, that she realized her passion and decided to pursue a degree in it.

The idea of forming a mariachi group arose her second year during her mariachi class with Laura Sobrino, one of the pioneer female mariachis in the United States, when she pondered how she could get other students to join. After realizing the importance of playing outside the classroom, she worked relentlessly until Mariachi Mexicatl de UCR was established. Currently, she holds the title of the bilingual Founder/Director of the group, and organizes and manages the ensemble’s rehearsal and performance schedule in addition to being a performer. The group’s mission statement is to raise the awareness of the Hispanic culture in addition to helping students connect with music. They have performed for the School of Medicine and will be playing in LA’s county fair this fall in addition to performing for other UCR faculty members.

Johanna recently represented UCR in the UCDC program where she interned at the prestigious John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts. There, she worked directly with the DeVos Institute of Arts Management at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington DC as a Marketing and Fellowship Intern. She produced and evaluated the DeVos Institute's Fellowship programs including a Nine-Month Fellowship (which currently is hosting 10 American arts managers), a Summer Fellowship for International Arts Managers (which will host 40 Fellows from 28 different countries in July 2013), a Performers in Transition Fellowship and a new Executive Fellowship. In all programs, intern projects encompassed event management, program administration, and program evaluation. She supported the Institute’s strategic marketing efforts, including launching a new website and fellowship.

 In addition to establishing her own organization, Johanna has worked as an orientation leader, CHASS First Year Peer Mentor, and will be the residential advisor for the Mundo Hall in Pentland Hills. She has held the position of the Secretary and Woodwind Section Leader in the Highlander Band and is currently the Principle Clarinetist in the Orchestra, UCR Chamber Music Ensemble, Wind Ensemble, and Mariachi Ensemble. She has previously interned with the Boys and Girls Club of San Bernardino as the Intern/Assistant to Music Director and helped organize the“Classically Black… A Night at the Symphony” performance that showcased an array of youthful talent from districts throughout the Inland Empire. Johanna has conducted research on the importance of music education and has been working as a Marching and Woodwind Instructor at Magnolia High for the past four years, providing one-on-one lessons to high school students free of charge. In order to further demonstrate her passion for music and music education, she has participated in the Gluck Fellowship Program for the past three years where she created a lesson plan for students from elementary to high school levels. When asked about how she believes her work is significant to UCR and the larger academic community, she stated the following: "I believe my work is significant because I'm inspiring future leaders within the community."

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