Mariachi Campanas de América will perform two concerts with the San Antonio Symphony and Grammy Award winning Tejano artist Little Joe y La Familia on Friday and Saturday, April 18-19, at the Majestic Theater. These concerts are part of San Antonio’s three-week Fiesta celebrations that run from April 10-27.
Campanas de América’s musical director and violinist Juan Ortiz has a long history of being involved in mariachi music in South Texas. He was a student at Lanier High School when he began playing mariachi music, and he went on to Texas A&I-Kingsville (now A&M) to start the very first mariachi music program on that campus more than 30 years ago. Following his studies in Kingsville, he began teaching mariachi music within the San Antonio Independent School District and later at Our Lady of the Lake University. Mr. “O,” as his students call him, now teaches at Palo Alto College and at Texas A&M University-San Antonio. His reputation as a mariachi instructor is outstanding. In fact, he’s coached several “Best in the US” award-winning mariachi vocalists from the Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza. Among them are two of the current members of his group—William “Carlton” Gálvez (2013 winner) and Selena Elizondo García (2008 winner). Both will perform as violinists this weekend along with Rhonda García, Anthony Medrano, Brandi Meyer, Emily Mujica, and Nathan Ximénez. Trumpets include Carlos Salazar and Chris Ortiz, with Carlos Álvarez on vihuela, and David Silva on guitar. Rolando San Miguel will play guitarrón, and Juan Cabrera, harp.
Campanas de América’s performance roster includes the Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza in San Antonio, Mariachi USA at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, the Aladdin Casino in Las Vegas, the Willie Nelson Farm Aid Concert in Iowa, and the International Festival in Kumamoto, Japan. The group was founded by Juan and Belle Ortiz in 1978 and celebrates its 36th anniversary this year.
Campanas’ style is unique in the way they combine contemporary sounds and instruments with traditional mariachi. Their “Go, Spurs, Go!” video is a great example of the FUNergy this group exudes.
All in all, it’s a Fiesta event you won’t want to miss. Individual concert tickets range from $15 to $92. Anyone can purchase tickets with the code word “Mariachi” and receive 20% off the ticket price. Student tickets are half off, and can be purchased at ticketmaster.com, or the Majestic Theater Box Office. Look forward to seeing you all there!