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Mariachi band surprises Southwest passengers with mid-flight performance

A teen mariachi band from Chicago "elevated" their art when they performed for fellow passengers on a Southwest flight to Albuquerque 

Chicago Mariachi Project

The award-winning band Chicago Mariachi Project says they've reached their goal of "elevating the art of mariachi -- literally." The group performed for their fellow passengers on a Southwest flight on Tuesday. Before they took their talents to a mariachi conference in Albuquerque, they took their talents to the sky, and video of their mid-flight show has gone viral.

Fellow passengers filmed the musical group's impromptu performance. The band, whose members range in age from 13 to 18 years old, stood in the aisle to play their instruments and sing a classic mariachi song.

"We're a small non-profit and we're so proud of our students who last year won First Place at this national competition," Álvaro R. Obregón, president and founder of Chicago Mariachi Project, told CBS News in an email. "The students work so hard."

The group is based in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago, but Obregón says some students come from as far away as Indiana and a town near the Illinois-Wisconsin border to participate. That's "a testament that we're doing something right, I hope," Obregón says. The organization also teaches mariachi in Chicago public schools.

Obregón says he's happy the video from the Southwest flight has gotten so much attention online. "In the video we were on our way to an international mariachi conference in Albuquerque. ... Last year we won First Place in our division at this prestigious event. We're here to learn from the Mariachi Masters," he said.

When the band finished their airplane performance, passengers cheered and showered them with praise. Their next performance at the competition will have higher stakes, but this one had a "higher" impact. 

Your Award-Winning Chicago Mariachi Project elevating the Art of Mariachi, literally, aboard Southwest Airlines on route to Mariachi Spectacular de Albuquerque!

Posted by Chicago Mariachi Project on Tuesday, July 10, 2018