Las Vegas High School’s Mariachi Joya Performs at the U.S. Capitol

Published: Oct. 18, 2023 at 4:47 PM EDT

WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - As part of Hispanic Heritage Month, Las Vegas High School’s Mariachi Joya group was invited to perform at the Capitol in Washington, DC.

“I didn’t think it was real. You know, like at all here at the airport. And when I was packing, I was surprised, you know, being able to get this opportunity,” senior Axel Rodriguez Olivas said.

“It’s very exciting and it’s incredible and it doesn’t feel like it’s real,” classmate Noemi Flores concurred.

Flores says when she started playing with Mariachi Joya, she never expected to be playing for Nevada’s senators, Catherine Cortez Masto and Jacky Rosen.

“My brother was in Mariachi,” said Flores. “He was the first one in our family to get into mariachi. And me seeing him play made me want to pick up an instrument and play as well.”

Rodriguez Olivas says that’s what got him started in music as well. “It’s just a love for music, and it’s something that runs through my veins. Part of my culture, too,” he explained.

Sharing that culture is what led Cortez Masto, the Senate’s only Latina, to invite the group to perform at the Capitol.

“This Mexican culture, this music connects all of us, right? And it is there’s so much that we have to contribute as Hispanic Americans. That’s part of it is the music amongst so many other things that we contribute to this country,” said Cortez Masto.

For Flores, the performance was more than just music. “It’s like showing them our culture and like showing them what we can do and having them explore our culture to see what other things we do,” she said.

Cortez Masto saying, music is the respite Congress needs. “Now more than ever, music is a universal language that brings people together,” explained Cortez Masto. “It doesn’t divide people. And so I wish we had more music, really, during the day and in this country, because as you saw, it just it is this makes you feel good. It puts you in positive mode and it just brings everybody together.”