The Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza and the University Musical Society (UMS) are proud to announce a collaboration in celebration of the 25th Annual Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza. The first place winners of the Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza National Group Competition – High School Category – will be invited to open for Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán at the prestigious Hill Auditorium in Ann Arbor, Michigan in February 2020!
This grand prize includes travel expenses (airfare and hotel) for 16 students and 2 directors along with the opportunity for students to spend a week in Michigan performing throughout the community, participating in cultural exchange programs and opening Vargas‘ show in one of the world’s greatest concert halls – Hill Auditorium!
Hill Auditorium is a 3,600 seat historical theater built in 1913 and is located on the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor campus. It is known world-wide for its ‘perfect acoustics’ and has hosted performances by artists such as Elton John, Yo-Yo Ma, and many well-known symphonies including both the Berlin Philharmonic and the New York Philharmonic.
“UMS is happy to present Mariachi Vargas for the 4th time at the Hill Auditorium,” says Michael Kondziolka, Vice President of Programming and Production for UMS. “Each time we’ve presented Vargas, impressive award-winning vocalists from the Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza have accompanied them. This year, for the very first time, an entire mariachi group will perform at the Hill representing the best in the U.S. among high school mariachi groups. We’re happy to collaborate with the Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza in offering this exciting opportunity for students in celebration of this year’s 25th Anniversary,” he added.
The University Musical Society, currently overseen by president Matthew VanBesien, was founded in 1880 as the oldest collegiate presenting arts organization in the United States. UMS is the leader among presenting arts organizations in the country and carries an esteemed reputation for presenting world-class artists in Michigan. UMS was selected in 2014 by the President Barack Obama as one of the recipients of the National Medal of the Arts, the nation’s highest public artistic honor.
“We are grateful for this collaboration and appreciative of the generosity of UMS and all of their contributors along with sponsors and supporters of the Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza,” says Cynthia Muñoz, President of Muñoz Public Relations and Producer of the Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza. “Together we are providing students a platform to showcase their talents while giving audiences a unique cultural experience” she says. “Traveling has a huge impact in shaping these students lives. It allows students to experience new places, meet new people and learn about different cultures,” she says.
Former Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza winners who have performed at Hill Auditorium include:
- 2011 – Karenn Lazo / Roma, TX / Grand Champion Vocal Winner 2010
- 2011 – Sebastian de la Cruz / San Antonio, TX / Elementary Vocal Winner 2010
- 2013 – Karen Zavalo / Laredo, TX / Grand Champion Vocal Winner 2012
- 2016 – Jackelyn Barrera / Roma, TX / Grand Champion Vocal Winner 2014
- Alexa Posas – Roma, TX / Grand Champion Vocal Winner 2015
- Kamryn Ramirez / McAllen, TX / Grand Champion Vocal Winner 2015
“Performing at the Hill Auditorium is an incredible experience,” says Kamryn Ramirez, current student at South Texas College in McAllen, TX. “I remember fondly the warmth the people had towards our performances….especially the kids….they gave us flowers and thank you letters and were so sweet and kind,” she says.
“For me, it was an eye-opening experience to share the music that we love with others,” says Jackie Barrera, who is currently attending Texas A&M International University in Laredo. “People in Michigan were so happy that we were singing in Spanish and keeping the culture alive. In South Texas, everybody knows about mariachi music but it’s a whole other experience to perform in a place where school-based mariachi music programs don’t exist. Experiences like this inspire me to want to continue spreading our music with people all over the world,” she says.
“It was my first time traveling outside of Texas when I was invited to perform in Ann Arbor at the age of 9 years old,” says Sebastien De la Cruz, senior and homecoming king at Wagner High School in San Antonio. “It was an honor for me to perform on this grand stage in front of so many people who had a true appreciation for the music and culture,” he added.
Mariachi Vargas, and the 1st place winners of the high school mariachi group competition, will perform at Hill Auditorium for students on Thursday, February 13. A public show will follow on Friday, February 14. Tickets start at $14 (+ fees) and can be purchased at UMS.ORG.
Just a reminder for all groups interested in participating in the 25th Annual Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza, early registration ends October 31. Take advantage of the best registration rates and secure your spot today. Late registration closes on November 27. Register at mariachimusic.com.
Tickets for the 25th Annual Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza are now on sale at Ticketmaster.com