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Belle Ortiz’s Impact on Mariachi in Music Education

Belle Ortiz, the Mother of Mariachi Education

Isabel A. Ortiz – February 12, 1933 – July 12, 2023

Belle Ortiz launched the first mariachi program in San Antonio public schools at Lanier High School in the 1970s which led to a district-wide mariachi group for SAISD. “It was the beginning of mariachi education in the high schools,” said Juan Ortiz of his late wife. Now decades later, she has influenced thousands of lives through her work in mariachi music education programs leading to generations of mariachi artists in our schools, community, and nationwide. She would later co-establish Mariachi Campanas de America furthering the practice of the art. We were honored to share her impact on generations as one of our 2018 Inspire Awards Honorees. We will always remember Belle through our students who practice and promote this art. As a lifelong educator, it was Belle’s wish to assist students in achieving their higher education goals. To support the Belle Ortiz Mariachi Legacy Fund, gifts may be sent to the SAISD Foundation, 2411 San Pedro, San Antonio, TX 78212, or online at, with “Belle Ortiz” in the comments.


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