UTPA’s Mariachi Aztlán will perform on Saturday, March 7, at the Edinburg Conference Center, as part of FESTIBA’s annual mariachi concert. Following this engagement, the group will travel to Chicago to perform El Pasado Nunca Se Termina with the Chicago Lyric Opera company.
University of Texas-Pan American’s annual FESTIBA (Festival of International Books and Arts) takes place March 4-8, with the majority of events being held at the university’s Edinburg, Texas campus. This book and arts fair, created in 2006, promotes reading and literacy and celebrates the arts and humanities as it broadens regional cultural awareness. A two-day mariachi festival, to be held on Thursday, March 5, and Friday, March 6 is one of the numerous activities included in this year’s FESTIBA. The theme of the mariachi celebration is “Women in Mariachi,” and it features a CD release party, mariachi group and vocal competitions, and a mariachi concert.
UTPA’s award-winning ensemble, Mariachi Aztlán, is celebrating its 25th anniversary with a CD release party in which they will debut their latest album, recorded at José Hernández’s southern California Lake Arrowhead Studios. The party takes place at the UTPA Visitors Center from 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 5.
High school and middle school mariachi students will participate in lectures and workshops led by clinicians José Hernández, Crescencio “Chencho” Hernández, the all-female Mariachi Reyna de Los Ángeles, and members of UTPA’s Mariachi Aztlán on Friday, March 6, at the Student Union Theater. Breakout sessions will be held throughout the day from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
More than 600 students from all over the state will face off during middle school and high school mariachi group and vocal competitions on Saturday, March 7. Winners will perform in an evening concert along with Mariachi Aztlán and Mariachi Reyna de Los Ángeles. The competitions will be held from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., and the mariachi concert begins at 7:00 p.m. Both events will be held at the Edinburg Conference Center, located on the nearby Doctors Hospital at Renaissance campus.
In the spirit of this year’s “Women in Mariachi” theme, FESTIBA proudly honors two of the U.S. mariachi festival and conference movement’s most prominent female organizers and visionaries: Noberta Frésquez, founder and producer of Albuquerque’s Mariachi Spectacular since 1991; and Cynthia Muñoz, founder and producer San Antonio’s Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza since 1995. Both women will be honored for their untiring devotion and far-reaching effectiveness in promoting mariachi music and mariachi music education over the past two decades.
Clyde Guerra is one of the finalists who will compete in FESTIBA’s vocal competition on Saturday, March 7, beginning at 9 a.m.