Mariachi Torres teaches music lessons at a local park. Courtesy photo

When the stay-at-home order was announced in mid-March, one San Diego family decided to utilize its musical talents to bring joy to those around them.

Mario Torres, who has been performing mariachi music since he was a student at Castle Park High School in Chula Vista, said he, his wife and children began offering free lessons to children and small concerts to friends.

“Playing music makes us feel alive and the joy that we get from performing can’t be described,” Torres said. “We decided to offer music lessons at our local park for other young musicians, at no charge. It helps us cope with everything that’s going on and I’m sure it too, helps all of the kids mental health.”

Torres said the pandemic affected his mental health, like many others in the world, so he took his talent as a musician to help spread joy. The ability to continue to perform allowed him to deal with stress, anxiety and uncertainty, he said.

“It means mental health for me,” Torres said. “It means love, passion and culture. It’s my identity.”

The music has also helped others in the region cope with current events. In fact, children come as far as North County to attend Torres’ South Bay music lessons, which are held outdoors.

Torres said being able to continue his career despite the circumstances is a “blessing.”

“The majority of my friends are musicians and this pandemic has affected their lives without a doubt,” Torres said. “Events have been cancelled — weddings, birthday parties, anniversaries and concerts. I have the blessing of having a job and working from home, but many others don’t have that same luck.”

Anyone who would like to see Mariachi Torres perform can call 619-621-0617 or email mariachitorres619@gmail.com. The family is accepting donations for their performances and follows current health orders.

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