Nizhoni Camille Begay has been chosen for the 2014 class of Young Masters, a grant program that provides exemplary art students in grades 8-11 with the financial assistance needed to pursue advanced study in the areas of visual arts, literary arts, music, theatre, dance, musical theatre, and media arts. The program is sponsored by the Texas Commission on the Arts and the Texas Cultural Trust.
Twenty students have been selected, representing the entire state of Texas. Together, they display a variety of artistic talents. As stated by Gary Gibbs, Executive Director of the Texas Commission on the Arts, “The Young Masters grant program was created as a way to recognize and support young people pursuing the dream of becoming prominent Texan artists of the next generation. These young artists earned the Young Masters title because of their outstanding artistic ability, talent and dedication to developing their knowledge in their chosen discipline. We congratulate their accomplishments.” Yay, Nizhoni!
Nizhoni is a sophomore at Incarnate Word High School in San Antonio, and a member of the Navajo Nation. Through the program, she plans to study voice and mariachi music in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. “It is an honor to be selected as a Texas Young Master, and the program will allow me to further my music studies the next two years before college,” Nizhoni said in a recent interview.
Since the inception of the Young Masters Program, Nizhoni will be the first to study mariachi music.
Nizhoni has been associated with mariachi music all of her life. Since 2007, she has been a finalist in San Antonio’s prestigious Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza Vocal Competition. In 2010, she won First Place as a Middle School student; then again, in 2012, as a high school freshman. Nizhoni expresses her gratitude for the support from the Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza, the assistance from the passionate musicians of Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán, and the support of the rich, vibrant mariachi culture of San Antonio.
Nizhoni is also a member of the Mariachi Corazón de San Antonio, an all-star high school mariachi group representing the city of San Antonio. In addition to mariachi music, Nizhoni is a very proficient musician in other musical genres. Most recently, she earned an Honorable Mention at the 2014 Texas Folklife’s Big Squeeze Conjunto Accordion Competition. In addition, she is a member of the Madrigals, the award winning high school advanced choir of the Incarnate Word High School. Nizhoni’s favorite academic subject is biology, and she is interested in pursuing medical school. Go, Nizhoni!
Information pertaining to the Young Masters Program may be obtained through:
All eligible mariachi musicians and vocalists are encouraged to look into this program. This is an excellent opportunity to get assistance that can help you further develop your skills!