Mariachi group competitions have been in existence since 1979. I remember competing against Los Changuitos Feos from Tucson as a member of the San Antonio Independent School District – All District Mariachi group. There were just a handful of groups who competed during the first International Mariachi Music Festival and, since then, mariachi group competitions have grown significantly. I can say that we were among the best at that time but it was nothing in comparison to the performances we see today from the many groups who participate in the annual Mariachi Extravaganza.
It’s impressive to see the discipline, dedication and hard work that goes into preparing for such an event. Most often, the Extravaganza is the first big competition for the new school year so mariachi directors spend a great deal of time and effort to prepare their students. But what really sets the Mariachi Extravaganza competitions apart from others is that it continues to be the largest, longest running and most competitive event of its kind in the world. It’s the largest competition where students have the opportunity to compete against groups from throughout the U.S. and it is highly competitive. Students dedicate a great deal of time to perfecting every aspect of their performance. By the time students reach their senior year, they often have 4-6 years of experience under their belt. Their experience shows on stage not only in their high caliber of musicianship and vocals but also in their overall skills. They maneuver around the stage with ease and work together as team. They have good leadership and are mature, self-confident and professional. It’s all quite impressive the way their grand performances come to together. It’s striking, invigorating and inspirational. The results are powerful when youth is combined with talent and education and this is what you get at the Mariachi Extravaganza.
The Mariachi Extravaganza is a unique, family oriented, cultural experience beyond the norm. It’s an opportunity to see a great deal of talent in one place at one time and when this talent is combined with the energy and excitement that from parents, friends, mariachi aficionados and newcomers, it’s simply exhilarating. The best part is that we all get to experience it all over again for the 28th consecutive year (minus 1 in 2020 – year of the covid) November 16-18, 2022.
The 28th Annual National Mariachi Group Competition takes place Thursday, November 17 in the heart of downtown San Antonio at the Lila Cockrell Theatre. Competitions are held in 3 categories: Middle School, High School and College/University. The middle school category is scheduled to begin at 2 pm followed by high school and college/university groups. Judges for this year’s competitions will be members of Mariachi Nuevo Tecalitlán (MNT) from Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. MNT is one of the world’s top performing groups who is making their debut performance at this year’s Extravaganza. The group performs under the direction of Fernando Martínez, former vocalist and violinist of Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlan (MV) and brother to Carlos Martinez (current musical director of MV). Judges will select first, second and third place winners in the middle school and college/university categories and select six finalists from the high school category. The finalists will return on Friday to compete in the High School Finals. First place winners in each of the three categories will be invited to open for Mariachi Nuevo Tecalitlán in concert on Friday, November 18 at 7:30 p.m.
Workshop sessions will be scheduled for registered groups. Each group will have the opportunity to pair up with a member of Mariachi Nuevo Tecaltián for a session. Time may be used for critiques, Q&A or tips and techniques session. Sessions will be in Spanish. Translations must be conducted by the mariachi director or someone in your group. Workshop sessions are available to groups registered by the Oct. 16 deadline. Workshops will take place at the Grand Hyatt in Travis Ballrooms ABC&D.
Groups are allowed to register as many students as they’d like. There is no limit to the number of students who can participate in the Serenata en el Rio and workshops. There is a limit in the number of musicians who can compete and that is 16. Sound is set up for 7 violinists, 3 trumpets, 1 harp, 1 guitarron, 1 vihuela and 2 guitars.
Competitions will be professionally live streamed this year by SolarShot. Expect close up shots, pan shots and more of a variety along with state of the art sound provided by the AV Shop. Schools, community centers and family and friends from throughout the world will now have the opportunity to enjoy the competition from the comfort of their homes. More details on the live-streaming will be announced as we approach the Extravaganza.
Audio critiques will be available for all groups competing.
REGISTRATION AND TICKET INFORMATION
Mariachi groups and individual artists may register to participate in the 28th Annual Mariachi Extravaganza competitions at mariachimusic.com. The registration deadline is October 16. All registered participants will receive entry into all events including the concert on Friday evening. Late registration ends October 26. Tickets for the Mariachi Extravaganza may be purchased at Ticketmaster.com. Tickets for the competitions may be purchased on location at the Lila Cockrell Theatre Box Office. For questions, contact Leon Camacho at 210-304-0297 or Sandra Guevara at 210-225-3353.
AWARDS AND RECOGNITIONS
The Mariachi Extravaganza recognizes mariachi music excellence and promotes the development and knowledge of mariachi music among young artists. Competition winners receive awards and recognition, scholarships and grants and travel and performance opportunities. Fifty thousand dollars in grants and prizes were awarded to competition winners last year thanks to the support of Cano Health, KHS America Academic Alliance, H-E-B, Whataburger, Texas Public Radio, the International Trumpet Guild and contributions from individual donors. The 28th Annual Mariachi Extravaganza is produced by San Antonio base MPR (Muñoz Public Relations).
Be sure to sign up for the MariachiMusic.com newsletter where we’ll be rolling out more videos highlighting performances from last year’s Extravaganza.
Thanks to everyone for your support of the 28th Annual Mariachi Extravaganza. We look forward to seeing you in San Antonio November 16-18.