Anji is a graduate of New Mexico State University with a Masters and Bachelors Degree of Music Education with Mariachi Studies, Latin American Music, and Conducting focus, Masters studies from State University of Georgia (Carrollton) and James Madison Univeristy (Harrisonburg, Virginia).
In August of 2009, Anji founded El Paso Community College’s Finest, Mariachi Real de El Paso and has collaborated with various college departments and community organizations for various events such as EPCC and Northwest Commencements, The El Paso Civic Orchestra and Choir Concerts, Fort Bliss Wounded Warrior, The Palisades Retirement Home, Sun Bowl Thanksgiving Day Parades, Various School Music department Showcases, Las Cruces International Mariachi Conferences, and many other venues. Membership is comprised of a diverse population: apprenticing high school students, college students, working professionals, to retirees. This is the first year Real de El Paso is honored to collaborate with Viva El Paso and the El Paso Community Foundation. Anji is also the 2016 recipient of the Adjunct Faculty Achievement Award representing the music department and Valle Verde EPCC campus, and in the 2016 cohort of the Teachership Academy. Anji is also on the planning committee for the Las Cruces International Mariachi Conference.
With 12 years teaching experience junior college and 23 years in public education, she has directed mariachi, choirs, piano and guitar ensembles in New Mexico, Virginia, Texas, and Georgia. Some of the dual credit classes in partnership with local school districts and El Paso Community College she has taught include: music fundamentals, music history, jazz to rock history, and music literature. Anji has presented lectures and concerts through the annual EPCC Spring Arts Festivals and actively recruiting for the music department.
Some of the professional stage experiences include singing with Dr. Jerry Ann Alt with Bella Voce de Las Cruces, an a cappella professional touring choir, and formerly of Masterworks Chorus, affiliated with New Mexico State University for 23 years, performing major works throughout the Southwest, Mexico, and Europe.
As a very diverse musician, Anji plays organ, piano, harpsichord, guitarron, vihuela, guitar, accordion, and sings. It was a great honor to accompany the ballet folklorico from Colima as their pianist with Mariachi Cobre for the 20th annual Las Cruces International Mariachi Conference for the tribute to master folklorico and Renaissance man Rafael Zamarripa.
Anji is also the aspiring driver and team owner of the #51 in the Southwest Super Truck Series for over 14 years, racing at local dirt and asphalt tracks in Southern New Mexico and West Texas. She has been a guest presenter and speaker for Anji Thornton Racing at the annual NAMI Walks in October to help educate, bring awareness, and hope for those and their loved ones afflicted with mental illness.