Since its inception in 1995, the Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza group competitions have established themselves as a must see event within a full week of activities. In 1998, the Middle School level was incorporated into the competition categories and the young talent that has emerged continues to take audiences by surprise.
Quiet often people in the community will comment on their enjoyment of the youth award winning mariachi groups that compete during the Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza. One of our favorite comments is “you know, we think those middle school kids who opened for Mariachi Vargas are just as good as Vargas!” Putting in hours of hard work, discipline and dedication, the students of the middle school category work diligently to perfect their show piece.
One excellent example of this dedication is Roma ISD’s award-winning Mariachi Juvenil Santander of Ramiro Barrera Middle School. Under the direction of Jose Antonio “Toño” Delgadillo, Mariachi Juvenil Santander has gone on to win back to back National Group Competition Middle School titles at the Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza in 2017 & 2018. Originally from El Paso, TX, Delgadillo started playing mariachi music while in high school. He later went on to attended the University of Texas at Brownsville and received his degree in Music Education from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley in 2015. Delgadillo is also a violinist in one of the Rio Grand Valley’s most accomplished mariachi group – Mariachi Siete Leguas.
Led by the motto “one program, one family, one tradition”, Delgadillo attributes much of their success to Eloy Garza, director of the multi award-winning Mariachi Nuevo Santander of Roma High School. “Eloy is in charge of all of the mariachi programs in Roma ISD. All three mariachi programs are very supportive of each other. When I need assistance, Eloy and Abiel Hinojosa (Director of Mariachi Escandón of Roma Middle School) are there to support me as I am for them as well,” he says. “It’s my goal to lead by Eloy’s example and follow in his footsteps.”
The caliber of talent that competes at the Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza continues to improve each year. Many have come to ask how that has been possible. The answer is simple. Students who have grown up attending conferences such as the Extravaganza establish a love and passion for mariachi music that drives them to grow as musicians. These middle school students go on to compete at the Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza in high school and even at the college/university level where they study education and/or music. These one time students of the Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza, such as Garza and Hinojosa, go on to become directors of successful mariachi programs throughout the nation.
Be sure to make plans to attend the 25th Annual Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza National Group Competition on Friday, December 6, 2019 at the Lila Cockrell Theatre in San Antonio, TX. Groups interesting in participating should look to take advantage of the Early Registration Rates through October 31.
National Group & Vocal Competition Wristbands can be purchased online in advance until November 30 for the pre-sale price of $16. Competition wristbands will also be available for day of event purchase for the price of $25.
One wristband allows for entry into the following three events:
- National Mariachi Group Competition on Fri., Dec. 6
- National Mariachi Vocal Competition on Sat., Dec. 7
- National Mariachi Group High School Finals on Sat., Dec. 7
Tickets for the grand finale concert on Saturday, December 7 at 7:30 p.m. may be purchased through Ticketmaster.com.