SAN ANTONIO – Learn your passion and stick with it — that’s a message one Southside ISD music director has for others after watching her father play conjunto music growing up.
Anna Bustamante, 63, started her own conjunto music program at Southside ISD in 2015. This is the only conjunto school music program in all of San Antonio.
She said she started the program in honor of her late father.
“I enjoy being able to provide this opportunity to them and make them understand it is unique and special,” Bustamante said.
One of the unique elements of conjunto music is that it features an accordion, something Bustamante grew up around.
“My dad played button accordion and my mom played the piano accordion,” Bustamante said. “So, my dad formed a conjunto with my mom’s three brothers.”
Conjunto music filled her home throughout her childhood. Eventually, that music sent Bustamante and her other siblings on musical paths themselves.
She was heavily involved in mariachi and even started her own music ministry before ultimately teaching mariachi for Southside High School.
But, it was her students’ interest in the accordion that revived her conjunto memories of her father, Ambrosio Uriegas.
Bustamante said starting the program was in honor of her father and it has paid off.
“It was his passion. My dad would be so thrilled and would play with them if he was still alive,” she said.
She hopes the musical discipline her father taught her will inspire her students in their futures as well.
“In order to learn your skill, it is not going to happen overnight. You need to be passionate about it.”