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Abstract

In the United States, Latino/a students are underrepresented in secondary school music programs (Elpus & Abril, 2011). By understanding the needs of Latino/a students, music educators can create programs that will better serve this student population. This intrinsic case study chronicles the experiences of Cassandra and Elena, two students enrolled in a high school choir in a mid-sized Midwestern community. The main research questions were: (a) Which lived experiences of these Latino/a students play a role in school choral music, and (b) Which elements of culturally relevant pedagogy have played a role in choral music education of these two students? Emergent themes related to these students’ experience include that: (1) family and community were vital in their musical education, (2) bilingual status and power structures were sometimes difficult to navigate in a majority Latino/a school, (3) culturally relevant repertoire was a priority, and (4) their family members sometimes had difficulty connecting to the choral program. Cassandra and Elena’s Latina heritage and Culturally Relevant Pedagogy serve as lenses for this case study.