The 20th Annual Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza is almost upon us!! This is the largest mariachi music festival in Texas, and among the most renowned worldwide.
This year’s 20th anniversary Extravaganza begins this Sunday, November 16, with a 12:30 midday mariachi Mass at the historic San José Mission. At 3 pm the same day, the McNay Art Museum will host “20 Years of the Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza,” a narrated historical presentation where you will discover how the Extravaganza started and meet some of its young, award-winning artists who will share their talents with you during this very special performance.
Other exciting events that will occur throughout the week include:
• A recital by vocalist Vanessa Cerda Alonzo, accompanied by Mariachi Los Paisanos, on Monday, November 17, starting at 6:30 pm, at the downtown UTSA campus;
• A chance to meet and greet Mariachi Vargas’ new musical director, Carlos Martínez, at the “Noche de Cultura” event held at the Instituto Cultural de México on Wednesday, November 19, at 7 pm;
• The holiday “Serenata en el Río” on San Antonio’s famous River Walk on Thursday, November 20, starting at 5:30 pm (weather permitting);
• Student mariachi workshops and group competitions at 8 am on Friday, November 21 at the Lila Cockrell Theatre;
• Mariachi vocal competitions starting at 8 am on Saturday, November 22 at the Lila Cockrell Theatre; and
• A private student presentation for all registered participants, on Saturday at 2:30 pm.
The Extravaganza’s grand finale is a spectacular concert on Saturday, November 22, at 7:30 pm at the Lila Cockrell Theatre. The concert features the 6th generation of Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán, with special guest Nydia Rojas. A complete schedule of events for the Extravaganza can be found here.
I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to all who have attended and participated in the Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza over the past 20 years, for your contribution to the growth of mariachi music. Some of the amazing talent that was discovered and nurtured at the Extravaganza is now appearing both nationally and internationally. Vanessa Cerda Alonzo and Sebastien De La Cruz’ roles in the Chicago Lyric Opera’s cast of El Pasado Nunca se Termina, and appearances on international TV reality shows by Virginia Stille, Angélica Vargas, and Jackelyn Barrera this year are just the beginning of what we can expect to see during the next 20 years. The continuous growth of the Hispanic market, Hollywood’s need for Latino-oriented programming and the vast amount of talent coming out of the Extravaganza will undoubtedly result in much greater achievements in the future.
Every mariachi director and instructor who supports and encourages our youth can take great pride in the continued growth of the mariachi movement. And, of course, none of this would be possible without the dedicated support of parents, the community, the media, and businesses. Many thanks to all of you for your hard work, perseverance, dedication, and amor por nuestra cultura; and a very special thanks to this year’s sponsors: Valero Energy Foundation, El Jimador Tequila, TV Azteca, La Prensa, and KEDA Radio.
The greatest honor I’ve received in the past 20 years has been the privilege of working with some of the greatest talent in the Latin music industry — Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán. All of the current and former members I’ve had the pleasure of working with have been consummate professionals who are unconditionally dedicated to their art. They have been absolutely amazing to work with, and their extraordinary music and the example they have set have greatly enriched our lives.
I look forward to seeing each and every one of you soon at the 20th Annual Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza!!!!
—Cynthia Muñoz, Producer