First place winners from the Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza in San Antonio have been invited to participate in arts residency programs to share Mexican cultural traditions with students and adults throughout the country. In May 2002 Mariachi Nuevo Santander de Roma, from Roma High School in Roma, Texas was invited by Ford Motor Co. to open for Mari
achi Vargas at the Rialto Theater and participate in a four-day residency program where they performed throughout the community. They performed in schools, museums and even inside the world headquarters of Coca-Cola USA. In April 2006, the
University of Texas Pan American- Edinburg from Edinburg, Texas and 2005 Best in the U.S. vocalist- Monique Alvarado from San Antonio, participated in a one-week residency program made possible by Quad City Arts Visiting Artist Series where they performed in elementary schools, high schools, community colleges and local businesses in Quad City, Illinois. And in March 2008 Mariachi Halcón from Zapata High School in Zapata, Texas and 2007 Best in the U.S. vocalist Esteban Velasquez performed for a three-day residency program and opened for Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán at the Hult Center for the Performing Arts through an invitation from The John G. Shedd Institute for the Arts in Eugene, Oregon.
The opportunity for these students to step out of their communities and share their love for mariachi music with other students throughout the country has a tremendous life changing impact on these kids as it did for me when I was a mariachi student in middle school and high school traveling to places such as Mexico City, Washington, D.C. and Tulsa, Oklahoma. These experiences allow students to broaden their horizons while making new friendships, visiting new places and learning about different cultures and countries. Thanks to the organizations such as Ford Motor Co., The John G. Shedd Institute for the Arts and Quad City Arts who have offered mariachi student winners the opportunity to travel and who have made it financially possible to do so. You have impacted the lives of many.
Photo: Adela Alvarez, Maria Benavides, Estevan Velasquez and Ashley Flores
This experience was surreal, said Adela Alvarez, violinist and vocalist for Mariachi Halcón. If you would Ive asked me back in 2000 where mariachi music would take me, I honestly would never have dreamed to Eugene, Oregon. It was truly amazing. Being able to spread mariachi music to children all over the country is great. Mariachi music is my life and it has brought me many experiences, triumphs and memories I will never forget. Visiting Oregon was truly a memorable experience I will cherish forever. Thanks to all who made it possible!
Photo: Javier Zapata (left) and Esteban Velasquez
Traveling is fun but traveling out of the state is even better, said Javier Zapata, guitar player for Mariachi Halcón. Oregon is beautiful and green with a cool climate. We played in the snow, something we cant do in South Texas so we had a blast- like five year-old kids in a playground.
Photo: Experience Oregon
Oregon was something I had been looking forward to since the Mariachi Extravaganza competition, says Jose Ramon Lara, violinist for Mariachi Halcón. Now I have experienced the life of a musician and I’m so appreciative for our director who helped us prepare for competition, our parents who offer us support, Mariachi Vargas and the John G. Shedd Institute for allowing us to touch the lives of others through art, cultural diversity and passion.
Photo: Alberto Alfaro, Estevan Velasquez and Steeven Sandoval
Cynthia, I just wanted to thank you once again for everything you have done for me. I never thought I would be sharing the stage with Mariachi Vargas especially traveling all the way to Oregon. I made lots of new friends like the guys from Zapata who are really cool kids and even Steeven and Alberto from Mariachi Vargas gave me their e-mail to keep in touch. You have really made a great difference in my life. Also I want you to know that this is something I love to do and something I want to continue doing for the rest of my life, Esteban Velasquez.
Photo: Mariachi Halcón in the snow
Photo: Mariachi Halcón rocked in Eugene, Oregon, March 12-15, 2008
Eugene, Oregon memories we can think of forever seeing and playing in the snow for the first time ever .hearing a kid from Eugene say they want a Mariachi traje so they can be a Mexican power ranger .cold rainy weather ..the gorgeous Hult Center .beautiful green colors everywhere and colorful trees and bushes ..logging .Willamitte River ..cozy fireplaces ..friendly people and happy faces.