Celebrating Latine and Hispanic Heritage Month

OCTOBER 07, 2022

In celebration of Latine and Hispanic Heritage Month, Nightingale honors the important people, places, culture, and traditions connected to those of Hispanic and Latine heritage.

To kick off Latine and Hispanic Heritage Month, Nightingale hosted Hector Martignon’s Foreign Affair to play in the lobby during the morning of September 15. Salsa music filled the entryway, and students and professional community members had the opportunity to enjoy the music as they began their day. Mr. Lerner’s Class V students journeyed down during their class period and listened to a few songs, some students even danced in groups to the beat.

For Lower School’s observance this year, the division focused on Latine and Hispanic music and musicians. Over the course of the month, Lower School professional community members decorated a bulletin board showcasing singers, musicians studied in the Spanish curriculum, Latin instruments, and more. From the bulletin board, students also learned the purpose of Latine and Hispanic Heritage Month. On October 13, Lower School students will continue the celebration of Latine and Hispanic Heritage month with a special assembly welcoming Mireya Ramos and Shae Fiol of Flor de Toloache: New York City's first and only all-women Mariachi group.

The Middle School celebrated and learned about Latine and Hispanic Heritage Month on September 30 in assembly. Spanish teacher Hernán Sánchez began the assembly with an introduction to Latine and Hispanic Heritage Month and spoke to students about the history of why this heritage month is celebrated. Following, the community welcomed Wendy Barrales, ethnic studies teacher, scholar-activist, and founder of the WOCArchive, to speak to students about the work she does to preserve and amplify the voices and stories of Latina women. She asked our students to consider, “Think about the spaces and areas where Latina’s voices and experiences are invisibilized. Why do you think that is?” Sharing art-based testimonios created by herself and fellow artists of color, she engaged students in a discussion about the importance of storytelling and centering the stories of Latinas everywhere. She concluded the assembly by encouraging everyone to consider a woman in their community they would want to interview, what questions they would want to ask, and how they would preserve their story through visuals.

On the morning of September 22, Upper School students, professional community members, and a few, lucky Class I students gathered in the H. Dale Hemmerdinger Auditorium for a special music presentation by Mr. Ulibarri and his Mariachi band, Mariachi Real de México, in honor of Latine and Hispanic Heritage Month. Founded 31 years ago, Mariachi Real De Mexico is considered to be the ambassador of Mariachi music and of the most sought after Mariachi ensembles in New York City.

“Mariachi music is one of the most extroverted, expressive, exciting forms of Latin American music. In Mexico, with a population of 100 million people, uniformed, professional mariachi musicians sing and play trumpets, violins, and guitars in a myriad of settings and events in every state and every large city,” LatinX club leaders Leah C. ’23 and Emma T. ’23 explained. “The mariachi is well known as a symbol of Mexican culture. In the second half of the 20th century, the United States–and Los Angeles in particular–emerged as a major center of Mariachi musical life. Economic opportunity lured many musicians from Mexico. At century's end, the U.S. population of Mexican origin had grown to more than 20 million, 1/5 the size of the population of Mexico, expanding the music's base of support. Social movements, the popular music industry, and marketing ploys to the growing Mexican market have brought mariachi music to the fore of American Life.”

During the assembly, the band showcased music from Mexico and the connection it has within greater Latin America and the world. They also highlighted a few pieces of Bolero music selected by Señora Baron’s Advanced Spanish class. The selection of Bolero style songs also featured introductions by Señora Baron's Advanced Spanish class titled: El Bolero, El Tango, El Cante Jondo como forma popular de poesía.

Before ending the assembly, students from Señora Baron’s Advanced Spanish shared a few reflections about bolero music in both Spanish and English.

“It is important and interesting to me because it expresses complicated emotions; not just love as a simple emotion but it expresses for example, passion, sadness, happiness—emotions that everybody in the world feels,” Lizzy L. ’23 shared.

“Bolero is different for every person,” Julia D. ’23 shared, “because it’s based on your life experiences and beliefs, but no matter how you interpret the lyrics to be, it is something that unites everyone.”

Latine and Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated annually from September 15 to October 15. The observation began in 1968 as a week-long acknowledgement and was expanded to cover a 30-day period beginning in 1988. September 15 is a significant date within the Latine/x and Hispanic Community as it marks the independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico celebrates its independence on September 16 and Chile celebrates its independence on September 18.