San Antonio’s Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza competition winners have received their checks just in time for Christmas. Thanks to People En Español, The Houston Grand Opera, UMS (University Musical Society) and our beloved mariachi patrons, a total of $10,000 was awarded in grants and prizes to 13 Extravaganza winners. Several of these winners will be featured as best in their category in the Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza television special airing Sunday, December 23 at 10:30 a.m. They include Veterans Middle School, Mariachi Juvenil de America and Rio Grande City High School, Mariachi Nuevo Cascabel, both from Rio Grande City. Texas State University’s Mariachi Nueva Generacion from San Marcos performs with “Best Vocalist in the U.S.” winner Karen Zavala. Each of these 3 groups won first place in their category in the Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza Group Competition and received $1,000. Texas State University’s Karen Zavala received $2,000 in grants and an all-expense paid trip to Ann Arbor, Michigan valued at $2,000. Karen will open for Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlan in concert at the prestigious Hill Auditorium on Sunday, January 27 and will participate in a 2-day residency program where she will perform for hundreds of students.
A $500 grant was awarded to UT- Pan Am’s Paola Alanis for placing 1st in the college/university category during the Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza Vocal Competition. Nizhoni Begay from Incarnate Word High School in San Antonio and Yomara Cortez from Roma High School in Roma each received an additional $500 for tying for 1st in the high school category. Alexis Flores from San Antonio’s Castle Hills First Baptist School and Zuriel Longoria from Carroll Academy in Houston each received $250 for placing 1st in the elementary and middle school categories.
In addition William “Carlton” Galvez, who competed in the Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza Vocal Competition in the College/University Category, received $500 for contributing his music through the church. Carlton received the “Geraldine ‘Boo Boo’ Orta Charles Scholarship Award” named in memory of Boo Boo Orta Charles who spent her life sharing her talents and teaching music to adults and children through the church. This is a special scholarship awarded each year during the Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza opening mass held at San Jose Mission in honor of the Orta Family. Thanks to Boo Boo’s longtime friend and fellow musician James Broadway for nominating Carlton.
Cash awards were also presented to the winners of the Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza original songwriting competition. Those awards went to Cassandra Trejo from Midland/Odessa who placed 1st with her song “Noche En Musica.” She received a $250 award. Gino Rivera from San Antonio placed 2nd with his song titled “Dame Un Minuto” and received $150. Jose Longoria won third place in the original songwriting competition with his song “Me Duele en lo mas Profundo” and received $100 award.
Don’t forget to tune in to KVDA-TV Channel 60 at 10:30 a.m. this Sunday in San Antonio to see some of these winners perform during the 30 minute special along with a very special presentation by Steeven Sandoval – la primer voz de el mejor mariachi del mundo, Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlan!
And mil gracias once more to People En Español, The Houston Grand Opera, UMS and our loyal mariachi patrons: Dr. Ellen Clark, University of Texas at San Antonio; Frank De Leon and Armida Medrano, Mariachi Por Vida; Romeo Garza, Los Laureles Restaurant and Garza Pharmacy; Angelica Villarreal, Accents by Angelica; Nyria Melchor, Attorney; Jesus “Chuy” and Irma Muñoz, Mariachi Aficionados, lifetime Extravaganza volunteers (and my parents); Miguel and Sandra Guevara, DJ Diamond Mike; John and Nancy Oliphant, Mariachi Aficionados and lifetime supporters and Richard and Judy Perez with the Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce.
Most importantly, thanks to State Farm Insurance and AHMSA International for sponsoring San Antonio’s 18th Annual Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza. Thanks also to Valero, Buchanan’s, KVDA-TV Telemundo, La Prensa and Univision Radio for providing additional support.
Happy Holidays to All!