This is a highly competitive, national mariachi group competition for elementary/middle school, high school and college/university level mariachi groups. Groups compete in one of these three categories. Judging is based on musicianship, ensemble rapport, showmanship, attire, intonation and overall performance. First, second and third place winners are selected in each of the three previously mentioned categories. First place winners will be invited to perform their competition piece as an opening act for Mariachi Vargas. Tickets may be purchased the day of the event at the theater entrance.
Rules and Regulations for All Participants
- Registration opens September 1st.
- All participants must be registered for the conference.
- Registration fee is non-refundable and registration cannot be canceled after the late registration deadline.
- Student participants must be in good academic standing and be no more than 27 years old.
- Registrants are allowed entry into all events listed on the schedule of events page, except for the event at JazzTX and the Mariachi Vargas concert. Tickets for the JazzTX event may be purchased at www.jazztx.com. Tickets for the Mariachi Vargas concert may be purchased at www.ticketmaster.com.
- A live drawing on the Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza Facebook page will determine the order of competition. Please check the schedule of events for the date of drawing.
National Group Competition Rules and Regulations
- The grade level of the oldest student in the group determines the category for the entire ensemble. For example, if a high school group has one member who is in college, then that group must compete at the college/university level.
- Elementary/middle school and high school groups may not perform popurrís or medleys in the competition. Popurrís are only allowed at the college/university level. A short tema or theme introducing a song may be included. If there is any question or uncertainty by the judges as to whether a performance has included a popurrí, that group will be DISQUALIFIED.
- Each student on stage must play an instrument. Only students who are competing are allowed on stage during the competitions. High School and college/university directors are not allowed on stage during competitions or during the concert. Middle school directors are only allowed on stage during the competition to help set up the microphones and must leave before the performance begins. If a high school or college/university group’s director walks on stage during the competition, that group will be DISQUALIFIED.
- Competing groups must adhere to the following time limits:
- Elementary/Middle School: 3-5 minutes
- High School: 5-7 minutes
- College/University: 7-10 minutes
- Groups competing under or over the allotted time limits will have points deducted from their overall score.
- A minimum of 10 and a maximum of 16 musicians are required to compete in the group competition. The following instrumentation is recommended, but not required: Six violins, two trumpets, one vihuela, one guitar, one guitarrón, one harp (optional)
- ALL group directors MUST submit a set list to the MPR office by the late registration deadline. It is important that the judges have the correct names of the songs the group will perform.
- ALL college/university students MUST have a CURRENT STUDENT ID on hand with them the day of the competition.
- The National Mariachi High School competition is the largest of the Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza group competitions. Because of this, the top high school performing groups will be announced following the group competitions on Friday, December 1. These top high school groups will compete in the finals on Saturday following the vocal competition. First, second and third place winners will be announced following the finals. The order of performance for the high school finals will be determined in a “blind drawing” Friday night following the group competition.
National Group Competition Helpful Hints
- Microphones will be placed on stage in the same position as they are for a live concert (see diagram). Adjustments may be made by students prior to the start of their group’s performance.
- Know your group’s strengths and weaknesses and select songs that feature its strong points. For example: if your group has an amazing trumpet section, consider songs that feature the trumpets; if your group has strong violins, consider a song that features that instrument; if your group has outstanding vocalists, think about highlighting those singers.
- A simple song played well is always preferable to a difficult song that the group has not yet mastered.
- All competing groups will be videotaped, so remember that group appearance is important.
- Mariachi directors may pick up performance critique sheets following the end of the mariachi group competition.
- Above all, have fun! This event creates lifetime memories for all!