Muñoz Public Relations (MPR) would like to congratulate high school senior Anyssa Solis for winning 1st Place during the 2019 FESTIBA Mariachi Festival Vocal Competition earlier this month. She competed against more than 30 mariachi vocal finalists. MPR is proud to award her a scholarship for her accomplishment.
The Festival of International Books and Arts, or FESTIBA, is hosted by the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) which promotes the importance of literacy, culture and art throughout the Rio Grande Community. One of the major components of FESTIBA is the Mariachi Festival, which hosts competitions, workshops and performances by some of the most renowned mariachi performers in the nation.
“We are very grateful to MPR for the scholarship. it is a wonderful opportunity for these children who may not come from this economic background,” Dr. Guerra, Assistant Vice President of Public Arts at UTRGV said. “The students appreciate the gesture.”
“As advocates of promoting higher education, we are proud to present her with a scholarship to help her achieve her educational goals,” Cynthia Muñoz, Producer of Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza said.
Anyssa is a phenomenal artist and not only demonstrated an exemplary performance at FESTIBA 2019, but also at the 24th Annual Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza in San Antonio, Texas where she competed in the High School category, resulting in a 2nd Place win.
The Edcouch-Elsa native plays violin with Mariachi Juvenil Azteca, under the musical direction of Marcos Garcia. She’s been enrolled in the mariachi program since the 6th grade.
Originally from a different background, Anyssa formerly sang Country and Pop. Garcia states that it helped open up her range and versatility, and added to her strength as a mariachi vocalist.
“She [Anyssa] is able to sing in a very mixed voice, and her head voice transitions to chest voice seamlessly,” Garcia said. “By 5th grade she was already singing naturally, so we guided her.”
Garcia mentioned that as mariachi programs grow throughout the country, mariachi competitions become more challenging. “There are so many great vocalists, and to even be selected to compete is hard. Sometimes it’s just those small technical details that will determine whether a student will be selected or not.”
Sometimes the best choice for competing isn’t always the most showy piece. Anyssa’s song of choice “No Se Olvidar,” made popular by Alejandro Fernandez, is a romantic bolero. Garcia said due to her control of phrasing, and interpretation of the song was a factor to her winning.
Judges of the 2019 FESTIBA included members of prestigious California-based all-female Mariachi Reyna de Los Angeles and Octavio Moreno, a renowned baritone vocalist with years of experience in both mariachi and operatic productions.
What really makes Anyssa star-quality material is her persistence and dedication, Garcia continued. “A lot of times students will get discouraged, but that wasn’t the case with her. She kept going, and submitting videos to different competitions. She never gave up.
Not only that, Anyssa is a very well rounded student. She’s persistent with her studies and very disciplined. She does well in her classes and we never had to worry about her.”
Anyssa was accepted to the Texas State School of Music, and will be pursuing a degree in Vocal Studies with a minor in Mariachi Education in the Fall.
When I spoke to Anyssa, she had just turned in her trusty Juvenil Azteca traje. It was a bittersweet moment.
“I feel great about graduating. Edcouch-Elsa has really proved me with a good foundation to continue at marachi at college,” Anyssa said. “It’s crazy. I was in a group fo so long, and learned from the same teacher for years. I’m going to be taught differently now. I’m very open minded and excited for this next step in my musical journey.”
Since 2007, MPR has made it possible with the help of sponsors Gonzaba Medical Group and H-E-B to fund nearly $100k towards the Mariachi Extravaganza Summer Camp and award scholarships and grants to mariachi competition winners.