EDUCATION

Utah Man Quits Successful Band To Teach Mariachi Music To Elementary Kids

Mar 24, 2019, 10:30 PM | Updated: Mar 25, 2019, 11:49 am
WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah — It’s a dream shared by many: having a successful band, playing on stage in front of a huge crowd that knows enough of your lyrics to sing along.
That’s exactly what Allan Moreno accomplished.  He and his band, “Londs,” were rising stars in the world of Hispanic music, known across two countries.
“We went to the red carpet, to the Grammys,” Moreno said.
Based in Utah, Moreno’s big break came after an appearance on a show called “Tengo Talento, Mucho Talento,” which can best be described as a Spanish-language version of “America’s Got Talent.”

Allan Moreno’s band appeared on the Spanish-language talent show, “Tengo Talento, Mucho Talento.”

The money, the fame, the music videos — there can be little doubt that Moreno’s dreams were all coming true — until he walked away.
“They said, like, ‘We worked so hard for this, Allan.  How you gonna quit at this time?'” he said.
All his dreams were put on the shelf — to teach mariachi music to a bunch of kids in West Valley.
“I don’t make too much money here, like from my band, but I make a lot of things in here,” Moreno said. “I make friends with the kids.”
“He first wasn’t sure that he wanted to work here, to begin with,” said Eulogio Alejandre, Principal at Esperanza Elementary. “He
said ‘I don’t know, I don’t play mariachi music.  I’m a musician, but I only play the guitar.'”
Alejandre asked Moreno to just give it a try — see if he could teach the kids one single song.  And now?
“We got 37 songs,” Moreno said.
Other teachers help Moreno teach the instruments he doesn’t know — and together, they’re responsible for a program packed with 200 kids.
“That’s where they feel successful,” said Melanie Broadhead, K-2 music teacher at Esperanza. “They may struggle in school, but they feel successful when they come to choir or mariachi.  They love Allan, and his personality is such that he draws kids to him.”

Students sing a mariachi-style arrangement of John Lennon’s “Imagine.”

The program has been such a success that the kids are already getting hired out for actual gigs around the area.
“In April, we’re going to play at the museum for the University of Utah,” Moreno said.  “We’re going to be at the Bees Stadium, like a real band.”
The money the kids earn goes back to the school, which provides all the advantages they need.
“The school buys everything for them,” Moreno said.  “They buy the accordions, they buy the guitars.  The kids have everything in this school.”
They’ve created content for their own YouTube channel, and Moreno’s even had a Grammy-winning producer visit the kids to help them in the recording studio — and with the help of other friends in the music business, Allan’s planning on getting them on TV in Los Angeles.

A student at Esperanza Elementary plays the trumpet.

It’s all done with one goal in mind.
“I show the kids the magazine that I was in, and I show them that they can be there too if they work hard,” Moreno said.
“In mariachi, I think I can make big accomplishments,” said Ismael Mora, one of the school’s accordion players.  “I can become like one of the people I love, like Mozart or Beethoven.”

Ismael Mora, left, says his goal in playing the accordion is to accomplish as much as the musicians he loves.

The school’s principal says even for those kids who don’t make a career out of music, what they’re learning can be valuable.
“We want the vast majority just to have the experience of playing in a group,” said Alejandre.  “I think that builds character, builds the willingness and desire and inspiration to move forward with whatever career they choose.”
For Moreno, this is about so much more than giving kids the fame he put aside.  It’s about the entire reason he’s here.
“I heard that there was a shooting in the mall,” Moreno said.  “I heard that it was Latino guys — Latino kids.  So I worry about that.  I think when the kids has like an instrument in their hands, they don’t have the chance to have a gun in their hands.”

A student smiles while playing the guitar.

That’s what got him here in the first place.
“I was playing in Utah, and when I finished, I was driving to my house, and I started to pray to God, like ‘What do you want from me?  How can I give it to you?'” Moreno said.  “After that, my wife called me and said ‘They’re looking for a mariachi teacher.  You should go, and see if you can help the kids.'”

Allan Moreno teaches students alongside K-2 music teacher Melanie Broadhead.

And so, Moreno put aside all he accomplished.  He had it all, and gave it all up — all for the chance to show a group of kids that finding happiness only requires that you work hard, and keep following your dreams.
“When they have a problem, they can go and play an instrument,” he said.  “That’s what I want for my kids.”

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Education

The SafeUT app provides real-time crisis intervention for people in immediate distress. (KSL TV)...
Debbie Worthen

SafeUT app sees big increase in tips on threats, chat use

On the app designed to keep them safe, Utah students are reporting more tips related to violence, more total tips and using the app chat feature too.
3 days ago
A crash at the intersection of Lone Tree and Cropper Lane outside Delta, Utah, Oct. 1, 2022. (Court...
Michael Locklear

Rival high schools show their support for Utah teen killed in car crash

A father who recently lost his daughter in a car crash wants to express his gratitude. He’s touched that several rival high schools across central Utah put aside their differences to honor Oakley Shiner, 17.
3 days ago
Outgoing Granite School District Superintendent Martin W. Bates speaks during a school board meetin...
Larry D. Curtis

SLC school board names interim superintendent

The Salt Lake City School District has a new interim superintendent after the previous leader resigned after approximately one year in the position. The city's board of education said Tuesday evening it is looking to hire a new superintendent while Dr. Martin W. Bates works in the interim role.
3 days ago
Orem High School...
Becky Bruce and Jessica Lowell, KSL Radio

Orem, Alpine School District split debate centers on whose math you believe

A growing debate over whether to split the city of Orem from the Alpine School District centers on a disagreement over math.
3 days ago
A new U of U hopes to expand it's diversity....
Erin Cox

New Latina dean hopes to help the University of Utah in efforts to become Hispanic serving institution

One of Utah’s largest universities has plans to become a Hispanic Serving Institution, the first of its kind here in Utah.
4 days ago
Non-profit workers preparing lunches for students....
Tamara Vaifanua

Local nonprofit provides lunches for Salt Lake County students

"We’re packing constantly," local nonprofit USANA Kids Eat is trying to fill the growing need for feeding students.
4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Ask these questions before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Cloud storage technology with 3d rendering drawer with files in cloud...
PC Laptops

How backing up your computer can help you relieve stress

Don't wait for something bad to happen before backing up your computer. Learn how to protect your data before disaster strikes.
young woman with stickers on laptop computer...
Les Olson

7 ways print marketing materials can boost your business

Custom print marketing materials are a great way to leave an impression on clients or customers. Read for a few ideas to spread the word about your product or company.
young woman throwing clothes to organize a walk in closet...
Lighting Design

How to organize your walk-in closet | 7 easy tips to streamline your storage today

Read our tips to learn how to organize your walk-in closet for more storage space. These seven easy tips can help you get the most out of your space.
Utah Man Quits Successful Band To Teach Mariachi Music To Elementary Kids