Mariachi Music Blog


Winners of Original Songwriting Competition announced

Felipe Romero_crop_1
 Felipe “Pike” Romero

The three winners of the 2014 annual Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza Original Songwriting Competition were announced at the November 22 gala concert. According to tradition, members of Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán judge this contest, and Alberto Alfaro and Carlos Martínez fulfilled that role this year. In an unprecedented decision, a single author, Felipe Romero, claimed both first and second place for two of his original compositions.

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Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza reaches 20th year!

MV Trumpets_LR

Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán

The 20th Annual Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza is almost upon us!! This is the largest mariachi music festival in Texas, and among the most renowned worldwide.

This year’s 20th anniversary Extravaganza begins this Sunday, November 16, with a 12:30 midday mariachi Mass at the historic San José Mission. At 3 pm the same day, the McNay Art Museum will host “20 Years of the Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza,” a narrated historical presentation where you will discover how the Extravaganza started and meet some of its young, award-winning artists who will share their talents with you during this very special performance.

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Vanessa Cerda Alonzo returns for 20th annual Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza

Vanessa Cerda

Vanessa Cerda Alonzo

Multitalented Houston-born vocalist, musician, songwriter, and actress Vanessa Cerda Alonzo will give a series of ten presentations from November 16-21, in conjunction with the 20th anniversary celebration of San Antonio’s Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza.

Vanessa received her earliest musical instruction through the mariachi programs offered by Houston’s Multicultural Educational Counseling through the Arts (MECA) organization. In 1999, at the age of 18, she competed in the Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza, where Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán selected her as the “Best Mariachi Vocalist in the U.S.” for that year. Following her triumph, Vanessa opened for Mariachi Vargas at concerts in San Antonio, Corpus Christi, and Houston.

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Noche de Cultura presents Carlos Martínez and Alberto Alfaro

Carlos y Beto

Carlos Martínez and Alberto Alfaro

Guadalajara natives Carlos Martínez and Alberto Alfaro will lead a special Noche de Cultura presentation at the Instituto Cultural de México as part of the 20th annual Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza. This one-hour FREE appearance occurs on Wednesday, November 19, at 7:00 p.m.


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Noche de Cultura presenta a Carlos Martínez y Alberto Alfaro

Carlos y Beto
Carlos Martínez y Alberto Alfaro

En celebración al vigésimo festival Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza, los mariacheros guadalajarenses Carlos Martínez y Alberto Alfaro encabezarán una presentación especial titulada Noche de Cultura, en el Instituto Cultural de México, el 19 de noviembre de 7:00 a 9:00 pm, en San Antonio, Texas. La entrada es gratuita.


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Deadline for Original Songwriting Competition extended

Songwriting contest artwork.pages


The Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza serves as host to more than a dozen events, including the Group Competition, the Vocal Competition, and the Original Songwriting Competition. We created our international songwriting contest several years ago as a way to provide aspiring songwriters with the opportunity to share their original works with mariachi enthusiasts throughout the world. In the past several years, the number of entries submitted for this competition has continued to grow. As a result of this increase, next year we hope to offer workshops on the business aspects of songwriting.


This year’s deadline to submit entries for the songwriting competition was originally set for November 10, but we have extended it to November 14. Individuals interested in competing should submit a recording of each composition they wish to enter (see acceptable formats below), along with the written lyrics, to by no later than midnight on November 14, 2014.


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Mariachi world loses icon Nati Cano

Nati Cano cover_crop

Nati Cano

Nati Cano, visionary leader of Mariachi Los Camperos for over half a century, passed away recently at the age of 81. No one in the United States has made a greater contribution to mariachi music than Nati Cano.


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Group Competition deadline set for October 24th

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Mariachi Juvenil de América from Veterans Middle School

Río Grande, TX

The early registration deadline for groups who would like to participate in the 20th Annual Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza Group Competition is this Friday, October 24. Participants must complete and submit their online registration forms by Friday in order to take advantage of the super rate of only $55 per student and $130 per director.

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Nydia Rojas returns for 20th Extravaganza concert

Nydia Rojas and Ricardo Castillón sing in duet at
2009 Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza concert


Legendary mariachi musician and vocal soloist Nydia Rojas is returning to San Antonio this November after a prolonged absence. Over the years, Nydia has performed in San Antonio and other parts of the state more times than she can count. “My mother and I used to joke that we should just move to Texas, since I was getting invited to sing out there almost every month!” she affirms.

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Mariachi Vocal Competition finalists announced

 Samantha Lopez_crop

 Samantha López

Congratulations to everyone who entered the Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza Vocal Competition! There were a record number of competitors this year, and the general level of artistry was higher than ever before. It was simply awe-inspiring to listen to the submissions, and extremely difficult to narrow them down to the list of finalists. After carefully reviewing each of the audio and video files, we decided to start the competition at 8 a.m. (an hour earlier than originally scheduled) to allow more students to compete. We have a record number of finalists this year (42 in all!), and it will be by far the toughest vocal bout in the history of the Extravaganza. This year’s competition not only includes more talent than we have seen before, but also more former winners competing than in any previous contest. There can be no doubt this will be a truly spectacular event!

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