Count down is 30 days until the start of the 18th Annual Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza which officially begins November 25 and runs through December 1. There’s something for everyone including an amazing line-up of events that are spectacular. First the free events. Thanks in part to State Farm Insurance and AHMSA International, along with community partners that include San Jose Mission, the Centro Cultural Aztlan, the Instituto Cultural de Mexico and the Rivercenter Mall, several events on the schedule are FREE. Check out mariachimusic.com for details, but in a nutshell, the Mariachi Mass at the historical San Jose Mission is simply spectacular (especially after the recent, amazing renovation). The mass starts at 12:30 p.m. on Nov. 25. Arrive by 12 noon to get a seat as it’s usually a packed house. For art lovers, there’s the mariachi-themed art exhibit where local, regional and national artists capture the Latino culture by utilizing mariachi music as the central theme using various mediums including bronze, acrylics, watercolor, pencil and more. The FREE art exhibit and reception starts at 7:00 p.m. on Nov. 27 at the Centro Cutlural Aztlan. Another very special event is the “Noche de Cultural” at the Instituto Cultural de Mexico on Nov. 28 at 7:00 p.m. Mariachi Vargas’ Steeven Sandoval will share stories about his music and travels. This event is FREE however one must RSVP to attend prior to the event by calling 210-227-0123. Also, attendees will have the opportunity to experience San Antonio’s gorgeous Riverwalk during the Christmas holidays with the “Serenata en el Rio” where Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza participants will gather to perform at the Rivercenter Mall Lagoon area. That’s four amazing FREE events that are open to the public!!!
For mariachi musicians and vocalists, there’s a complete line up of events that include mariachi instrumental and vocal workshops on Nov. 30 at the Lila Cockrell Theater and the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center. This event is held prior to the start of the mariachi group and vocal competitions, which are the largest and most competitive in the U.S. Participants must register at mariachimusic.com by Nov. 5. Wristbands to attend the competitions may be purchased at the Mariachi Connection at 2106 W. Commerce or by calling 210-225-3353. The Mariachi Connection is open M-F 10 a – 6 p and Sat. 10 a – 4 p.
And finally, the concert! The Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza is named after the world renowned and Mexico City based Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlan, and the 7-day music festival culminates with a concert featuring this group, el mejor mariachi del mundo. A performance by Mariachi Vargas is an unforgettable, sensorial experience…come prepared to see a group of world class musicians deliver a highly energized performance that is second to none. Quite simply, Vargas’ performances surpass even the highest expectations – the music is performed with incredible precision and yet it remains new and fresh, even to audiences that have been coming to see them for years. Expect to see a performance that is beautiful, elegant, and above all, fun! For some first-time concert goers, their only exposure to mariachi music may have been a small mariachi group singing in a Mexican restaurant or perhaps the street musicians seen performing on the streets of Mexico. Every stereotype will be put to rest. Once people attend their first Vargas concert, they often become fans for life, returning year after year, bringing their friends and sharing the joy unique to a Mariachi Vargas concert. Their performances are characterized by the depth and variety of an extensive repertoire…one might hear three of the members singing in flawless harmony on Como Han Pasado Los Años, followed by Arturo Vargas’ awe-inspring rendition of El Pastor. For audiences, it is always a special treat when the group performs songs by Jose Alfredo Jimenez, and you see 2,000+ people singing along!
Only one concert is scheduled for this year. Tickets are selling fast so be sure to purchase yours today, and call 210-225-3353 if you have any questions.
Thanks again to State Farm Insurance and AHMSA International for sponsorship of the 18th Annual Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza. Thanks also to Valero, Buchanan’s, Telemundo, La Prensa, Univision Radio and People En Espanol Festival for additional support.
P.S. Thanks to Nydia Melchor for contributing to this blog!