Congratulations to Cynthia Muñoz for being named “Woman of the Year” by the San Antonio Business Journal! “I am very honored and grateful to receive this award,” said Cynthia in a recent phone conversation. “This award represents the entire mariachi community and everyone who has supported the growth and expansion of mariachi music throughout the past two decades.”
Hope you’ve been enjoying a fabulous summer and have given some thought to submitting an entry to this year’s Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza Vocal Competition. Registration opens Tuesday, September 1 and goes through Thursday, October 1. There is only a one-month window to submit your MP3 file or link to a video posted on YouTube. Whatever your entry is, be sure to give it your absolute best and put forth all of the energy, passion and love you have for singing mariachi music!
The Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza—one of the largest and most prominent festivals of its kind in the world—presents the very finest in mariachi music. This seven-day celebration takes place November 15-21, at the start of the holiday season, in the beautiful city of San Antonio. The festival is jam-packed with unique events, including a world-class concert featuring Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán along with the winners of the largest, longest running and most competitive mariachi group and vocal competitions on the planet. Offering more than a dozen entertaining and culturally enriching events, this festival draws more than 10,000 attendees annually.
In December of 2014, the mariachi world lost one of its all-time greatest icons, trumpeter extraordinaire Miguel Martínez, often referred to as the “father of the mariachi trumpet.” One of the primary figures in mariachi music of the 20th century, and by far the most influential instrumentalist in the history of the genre, his incomparable legacy encompassed nearly eight decades.
En diciembre de 2014, la música de mariachi perdió a uno de sus más grandes íconos de todos los tiempos: el trompetista non plus ultra Miguel Martínez, a quien se solía mencionar como “el padre de la trompeta mariachera”. Sin duda una de las principales figuras en la música de mariachi del siglo XX y el instrumentista de mayor influencia en toda la historia del género, su incomparable carrera abarcó casi ocho décadas.
Marcelino Ortega, director of Mariachi Perla de Occidente for over half a century, died April 24 after a long bout with kidney failure. Perla de Occidente is best known for accompanying Pedro Infante and Javier Solís, and as a training ground for groups like Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán and Mariachi México de Pepe Villa.
I was thrilled when Vanessa Cerda Alonzo joined the Houston Grand Opera’s cast for the first mariachi opera, Pepe Martínez and Leonard Foglia’s Cruzar la Cara de la Luna, back in 2011. Over a decade earlier, at age 18, Vanessa had been chosen “Best Mariachi Vocalist” at the 1999 Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza in San Antonio. Today, she’s performed with several of the nation’s most prestigious opera companies. As more and more opportunities like this open up, the future seems brighter than ever for winners of the Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza vocal competitions.
Seeing Vanessa in Cruzar la Cara de la Luna at the Wortham Theater Center in Houston in 2011 was beyond my wildest dreams. She was only billed as a cast member, but for me, Vanessa was the star of the show. UTPA’s award-winning Mariachi Aztlán was also commissioned to participate in several community performances of Cruzar back then, while Mariachi Vargas was hired as the main attraction for the big shows.
The Latin Music Studies department of Texas State University presents its 16th annual Feria del Mariachi in San Marcos, Texas, on Friday and Saturday, May 1-2. The two-day event includes workshops, competitions, a concert, and a tribute.
This year’s Feria del Mariachi workshops, which begin Friday evening, will focus on the Mexican son in its distinct regional variations, such as the son jalisciense,son abajeño, and son jarocho. Mariachi legend Sergio Caratachea will be the lead instructor. In addition to ensemble workshops, solo vocal instruction will be offered to a limited number of registrants.
Since ancient times, motherhood has been honored through a variety of customs and practices. The Mother’s Day tradition we know today, however, is barely a century old. The United States began celebrating its Mother’s Day in 1908, and Mexico only began celebrating its Día de las Madres in 1922. U.S. Mother’s Day is always the second Sunday of May, while in Mexico, it’s always the 10th of May, so the two holidays often fall on different days of the week. This year, both occur on Sunday, May 10.
For mariachis everywhere, Mother’s Day and December 12, Virgin of Guadalupe Day, are the two most important workdays of the year, and it’s no coincidence these two holidays are dedicated to mothers. While most of us love our two parents equally, few would dispute that our mother is the most tender and nurturing, the one we bond to the most in childhood, and the one whose special day we tend to celebrate the most.