Sebastien De La Cruz
The 20th Annual Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza is just 40 days away, and many exciting things are happening! Former Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza vocal and group competition winners have been involved in several groundbreaking projects this year. An increasing number of opportunities for award-winning groups and vocalists have become available, and I predict this trend will continue into movies, pictures, films, recordings, concerts — and other opportunities we have not yet imagined — as Hollywood takes a closer look at the Hispanic market.
Earlier this year, Roma, Texas native Jackelyn Barrera appeared on Telemundo’s La Voz Kids, where she joined Roberto Tapia’s team after singing a beautiful rendition of “La Bamba.” Jackelyn won first place in the Extravaganza vocal competition in the middle school category last year, and she plans to compete again this year in the high school category. Two other former Extravaganza vocal competition winners, Angélica Vargas (1st place elementary school–2009) and Virginia Stille (Best Mariachi Vocalist in the U.S.–2000), both moved up another round in yesterday’s October 5 showing of La Academia Kids on TV Azteca and Va Por Ti on Univisión. We’re following them closely and are thrilled about their accomplishments and the international media attention they have garnered through their appearances on these shows.
Lyric Opera of Chicago recently announced its cast for the new mariachi opera El Pasado Nunca Se Termina. Among the performers are Sebastien De La Cruz (1st place elementary–2010), who plays the role of Daniel; Vanessa Cerda-Alonso (Best Mariachi Vocalist in the U.S.–1999), who plays the role of Juana; and UTPA’s Mariachi Aztlán (1st place college/university–2013), the group that will accompany the cast in March, 2015 in Pilsen and Waukegan, Illinois. This the second time performing in a mariachi opera for Vanessa and Mariachi Aztlán, both of whom took part in the premiere of Cruzar La Cara de la Luna with the Houston Grand Opera in 2011.
This latest mariachi opera by Pepe Martínez and Leonard Foglia, which includes Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán, will officially be premiered in Chicago next March. This, and the fact that Roma High School’s Mariachi Nuevo Santander (1st place high school–2013) just returned from shaking hands with President Obama in Washington, D.C., where they performed at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s annual gala, has helped make for an exciting year! Mariachi Nuevo Santander also represented the Extravaganza in Ashland, Oregon earlier this summer.
This year’s Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza group and vocal competitions are set for Friday, November 21 and Saturday, November 22 at San Antonio’s Lila Cockrell Theatre. These continue to be the largest, longest running, and most competitive competitions of their type in the nation. Additionally, an original songwriting competition was added to the Extravaganza in 2011. Click here for more information.
Tickets for the group and vocal competitions are available for purchase at the door for only $10 and one ticket gets you into both events. All proceeds from the competitions are awarded back to winners in prizes!!!!
Please join us and other mariachi aficionados from throughout the U.S. and Mexico right here in San Antonio next month for the 20th Annual Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza — the largest mariachi music festival in Texas!