The deadline to submit an entry for the 23rd Annual Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza National Vocal Competition is less than 30 days away! The final day to submit an entry is Sunday, October 1, 2017. The competition is open to students from elementary school to college, up to the age of 27.
Below are some helpful hints in preparing for this year’s competition:
1. Be sure to read all the rules and regulations posted on mariachimusic.com. The first step is to register under the Individual/Vocal registration section of mariachimusic.com, even if you are registering with a full mariachi group.
2. Submit ONLY video entries this year. This is a NEW rule which will make it more affordable and convenient for all students to enter. Videos can be shot with cell phones and uploaded to YouTube. The second step is to email the YouTube video link to Debra@mariachimusic.com.
3. Be sure the song is four (4) minutes or less. Entries over four minutes will not be considered.
4. Prepare, plan and practice. Record on a good day when your voice is in top shape. Remember, this is the most competitive national mariachi vocal competition in the United States. Plan to record several takes and submit your absolute best.
5. Record a well-focused close-up shot where the voice can be clearly heard. Record in an area that is quiet. Avoid background noise, barking dogs, crying children, etc. Here are two examples of what we’re talking about:
In the first one is only marginally acceptable, since the camera is a little too far from the singer, and the background conversation is somewhat annoying. In the second example, the pista is a little too loud and distorted, but the singer is near the camera, and her voice is clear.
6. Video submissions may be recorded with live mariachi group accompaniment, pista (pre-recorded accompaniment), acoustic guitar or any combination of instruments used in a mariachi.
7. Preliminary judges will be looking for vocal quality, tempo/timing, diction/pronunciation, vocal clarity, intonation, phrasing and interpretation (delivery/expression). Oftentimes, entries are received where students are singing out of key. Be sure to ask for advice from several vocal instructors to ensure that you are singing on key!!!!
8. Song selection is important. The most challenging song is not always the one that wins. Choose a song that suits your voice/style while showcasing your individual musicianship and artistic expression. Choose a song that is age-appropriate. How can one determine whether a song is age-appropriate? Talk to the vocalist about the meaning of the song and ask yourself, “Does the student really understand what this song is about?”
9. Many ask just how much the visuals will be taken into consideration during the preliminary selection process. Energy, expression and delivery are easily captured in videos. In order to be judged fairly, be sure to record the video without eyeglasses. Keep your eyes open and look into the camera. Do not record a video while you are reading the lyrics!!!!! Use your hands to show expression and help deliver the meaning of the song.
10. Approximately 40 finalists will be selected to compete at the Lila Cockrell Theatre on Saturday, December 2, starting at 9 a.m. Finalists have the option of competing with a live mariachi group or a pre-recorded music bed (pista). Although a live mariachi is encouraged (along with a ballet folklórico, if appropriate), judges will select winners based on their vocal performance, not on that of the musicians and/or dancers. The mariachi group and ballet folklórico should enhance the vocalist’s overall performance.
Above all, have fun, good luck, believe in yourself and visualize success! Remember that once you are registered as a vocalist, you are eligible to attend all events associated with the 23rd Annual Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza from Nov. 26 – Dec. 2 up until 5 p.m. Tickets for the grand finale concert on Saturday, Dec. 2 at 7:30 p.m. can be purchased through Ticketmaster.com. Wristbands for the National Mariachi Group and Vocal Competitions can be purchased in advance for $15. One wristband allows for entry into the following three events:
- National Mariachi Group Competition on Fri., Dec. 1.
- National Mariachi Vocal Competition on Sat., Dec. 2
- National Mariachi Group High School Finals on Sat., Dec. 2
And finally, please join us for a Facebook Live conversation about the Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza National Mariachi Group and Vocal Competitions on Tuesday, September 12, at 6:00 p.m. on the Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza Facebook page.
See you then!