Hope you’ve been enjoying a fabulous summer and have given some thought to submitting an entry to this year’s Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza Vocal Competition. Registration opens Tuesday, September 1 and goes through Thursday, October 1. There is only a one-month window to submit your MP3 file or link to a video posted on YouTube. Whatever your entry is, be sure to give it your absolute best and put forth all of the energy, passion and love you have for singing mariachi music!
The following are some tips and rules to help you prepare for this year’s Extravaganza Vocal Competition:
• This is a traditional mariachi vocal competition. Please submit your entry with mariachi group accompaniment. No submissions with non-mariachi accompaniment will be accepted (examples: synthesized pistas, keyboards, percussion, orquesta, banda, conjunto norteño, guitar without mariachi, etc.).
• Anyone can participate as long as they are enrolled in school and are 27 years of age or younger. (Note: This a new rule. This age limit is comparable to that of many college/university competitions). Any kind of school is acceptable.
• Your entry must include one complete song. Partial songs, popurrís or medleys will be disqualified.
• Your vocal performance is what will be judged, not the accompaniment.
• Make sure your voice is adequately warmed up before you begin recording.
• Your voice should be the most prominent element of the mix, and not be buried by the accompaniment. Always listen to your recordings at the time you make them, to make sure you have an acceptable take ready for submission.
• Listen to your final recording on several devices to make sure it sounds as you wish, and share it with friends and family to get their input. Listen to it on high quality equipment, with headphones, if possible.
• Make sure that each word is pronounced clearly and precisely in your recording. Keep in mind that the judges’ primary language is Spanish, and they are sensitive to even the slightest flaws in diction.
• Use good microphone technique when recording. Don’t get too close or too far from the mic.
• Plan well in advance, so that you will have time to rerecord your final version, in the event that you are not 100% happy with what you intend to submit.
• Submit your entry to firstname.lastname@example.org. When submitting your MP3 file, be sure to include the name of your song, its composer; your name, age, school, personal email and phone number; and any additional information that could be used as part of a stage introduction for you. Once your entry is received, you will be sent a confirmation by email.
• Due to numerous requests, we are bringing back the elementary school category. Please help spread the word and encourage younger students to enter this competition.
• Please select only songs that are age-appropriate. If you’d like to see a sample list of these, check out the rules and regulations section under Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza on mariachimusic.com.
• Please be conscious of details. This is a national competition that grows increasingly competitive, and every year it becomes more and more difficult just to make it to the finals. Judging is based on timing, diction, intonation and much, much more—so be sure to submit your absolute best! Last year, there were so many outstanding entries and the scoring was so close that the judges ended up disqualifying many otherwise outstanding performances for minor flaws that the contestants had overlooked.
The 21st Annual Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza Group Competition will be held on November 20, and the Vocal Competition on November 21, at the Lila Cockrell Theater. Entry is free for all those who are registered for the Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza. Additional wristbands may be purchased in advance for $10 each from email@example.com, or by calling 210-225-3353. They may also be purchased at the door prior to the Nov. 21 competition. Each wristband allows for entry into both the mariachi group and vocal competitions.
Thank you for all of your hard work in preparing for this prestigious vocal competition! Each year, it is definitely one of the highlights of the seven-day Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza. I have enjoyed watching this event year after year and seeing all of the phenomenal talent that has gone through the Extravaganza. It is exciting to witness how this festival has served as a springboard for so many previous winners to go on to greater accomplishments. We are very proud of all of the previous participants of the Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza Vocal Competition, and would like to recognize each and every one of the former “Best Mariachi Vocalist in the U.S.” winners from the past 18 years:
Jackelyn Barrera (Roma, TX) 2014
William Carlton Gálvez (Kyle, TX) 2013
Karen Zavala (Laredo, TX) 2012
Celeste Ríos (San Antonio, TX) 2011
Karenn Lazo (Roma, TX) 2010
Celeste Curiel (San Antonio, TX) 2009
Selina Elizondo (San Antonio, TX) 2008
Esteban Velásquez (Odessa, TX) 2007
Fabiola Rivera (Laredo, TX) 2006
Monique Alvarado (San Antonio, TX) 2005
Mónica Martínez (Laredo, TX) 2004
Anastasia Wilkins (San Antonio, TX) 2003
Mayra Guerra (Roma, TX) 2002
Virginia Stille (Houston, TX) 2001
Victoria Acosta (San Antonio, TX) 2000
Vanessa Cerda Alonso (Houston, TX) 1999
Jackie Morales (San Antonio, TX) 1998
Eddie Amaya (Harlingen, TX) 1997
The Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza is among the most prominent mariachi music festivals in the world. It takes place November 15-21, in the charming city of San Antonio, Texas. This week long celebration presents the greatest in mariachi music and is jam-packed with unique events, including a world class concert featuring Mariachi Vargas and winners of the largest, longest running and most competitive mariachi group and vocal competitions in the world. Offering more than a dozen entertaining and culturally enriching events, the festival draws more than 10,000 attendees annually.
Tickets to see Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán and competition winners are available through ticketmaster.com starting September 1. Be sure to book your hotel room at the Grand Hyatt San Antonio by 11/3/15 to lock in the special rate available to Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza participants! Visit mariachimusic.com for a complete schedule of events and updates.
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