Thanks to all of the participants who competed in the 28th Annual Mariachi Extravaganza in November and congratulations to all of the winners. The Mariachi Extravaganza is proud to help advance mariachi music education by providing its registrants with the opportunity to win scholarships, grants, cash prizes, instruments, and even performances on some of the most prestigious stages in the nation. The 28th annual festival in 2022 was no exception, awarding an outstanding $30,000 to attendees with the support of its sponsors Cano Health, H-E-B, KHS America Academic Alliance and WhatAburger.
It is well known that the Mariachi Extravaganza hosts some of the most competitive mariachi group, individual, and songwriting competitions in the world. It is estimated that in 2022 around 1,000 mariachi musicians traveled to San Antonio to compete in the festival, not to mention family, friends, and mariachi afficionados who watched the competitions unfold from the audience. It is not hard to draw similarities between sporting events and the Mariachi Extravaganza. Just like in football or basketball, fans come prepared with signs, face paint, noisemakers, and an unmatched spirit to cheer for their favorite groups.
In 2022, the competition was judged by non other than La Excelencia de México – Mariachi Nuevo Tecalitlán, a world renowned group from Guadalajara, Jalisco. They were responsible for selecting the winners of all three competitions who would also open their performance during the Mariachi Extravaganza concert. Each year, groups and individuals improve immensely. Judges have to be extremely critical and scrutinize every note and movement of the young artists to select the winners.
2022 Competition Results
Original Songwriting Competition
As opposed to the other two competitions, the Original Songwriting Competition has only taken place for a few years. It was created to encourage young mariachi musicians to try songwriting in efforts to introduce new songwriters to the mariachi genre. Competitors are judged on originality, arrangement, lyrical creativity, etc. There were twenty original submissions which got narrowed down to six overall finalists who competed live during the festival. Here are the results:
Judges: Fernando Martinez, Edwin Origel, Jorge Aguayo.
1st – José Barraza Barrón – El son de la guitarra – Fort Worth, TX – $750
2nd – Claudia Garcia – Poder – Los Angeles, CA – $500
3rd – Carlos Maldonado – Quisiera – San Marcos, TX – $250
All six finalists were surprised with ukelele guitars courtesy of KHS Academic Alliance.
National Group Competition
In 2021, journalist Cecilia Ballí followed schools from Starr County in Texas and documented their journey to the Mariachi Extravaganza for the New York Times Magazine in an article titled “A Championship Season in Mariachi Country”. Her article gives the reader an inside look at the physical, mental, and emotional preparation these programs undergo for competition. The National Group Competition is divided in three categories: Middle School, High School, and College/University. The 1st place winner of each category is awarded a spot as an opener during the concert. Here are the results:
Middle School Category
Judges: Pedro Hernandez, Jorge Aguayo, Simon Casasola
1st – Mariachi Escandón – Roma Middle School – Roma, TX
2nd – Mariachi Juvenil Santander – Ramiro Barrera Middle School – Roma, TX
3rd – Mariachi Los Gavilanes – Monaco Middle School – Las Vegas, NV
High School Category
Judges: Angel Martinez, Gabriel Godinez, Edwin Origel
1st – Mariachi Nuevo Santander – Roma High School – Roma, TX
2nd – Mariachi Grulla de Plata – Grulla High School – Rio Grande City, TX
3rd – Mariachi Juvenil Azteca – Edcouch Elsa High School – Edcouch-Elsa, TX
Judges: Roberto Diaz, Luis Martinez, Simon Casasola
1st – Mariachi Plata – College of Southern Nevada – North Las Vegas, NV
2nd – Mariachi Los Paisanos – The University of Texas at San Antonio – San Antonio, TX
3rd – Mariachi Javelina – Texas A&M University – Kingsville – Kingsville, TX
National Vocal Competition
Competitive on an individual level is the National Vocal Competition which showcases some of the most talented and virtuous vocalist you will ever hear. These young artists are not only good at singing mariachi but most can easily out shine singers across any genre. In 2022, dozens of vocalists submitted an online audition for a spot in the finals. Only 38 were selected to compete live at the festival. Like the group competition, this one is also divided in three categories (MS, HS, C/U). Judges selected one overall competitor who rose above all to be crowned “Grand Champion Vocalist.” It is the Grand Champion who gets the honor to perform at the concert. Here are the results:
Judges: Fernando Martinez, Alejandro Martinez, Luis Martinez
Grand Champion – Nayelli Peña – Grulla High School – Rio Grande City, TX – $5,000 plus a matching scholarship at UTSA
1st – Eduardo Treviño – Autumn Creek Elementary – Humble, TX – $250
2nd – Yessenia Cruz – Veterans Middle School – Rio Grande City, TX – $150
3rd – Alan Aguilar – Patrick Henry Middle School – Houston, TX – $100
1st – Abril Cisneros – Del Sol Academy of Performing Arts – Henderson, NV – $1,000
2nd – Yuliana Flores – La Joya High School – La Joya, TX – $750
3rd – Anali Hinojosa – La Grulla High School – Rio Grande City, TX – $500
1st – Elma Garcia – Texas State University – San Marcos, TX – $1,000
2nd – Micheal Padilla – College of Southern Nevada – North Las Vegas, NV – $750
3rd – Deborah Carillo-Barquero – College of Southern Nevada – North Las Vegas, NV – $500
Congratulations once again to all of the Mariachi Extravaganza winners. Your hard work, preparation and dedication to the mariachi music art form is appreciated on so many levels. Your performances bring so much joy to thousands of people every year and your participation is the motivation for us to continue finding ways to share your talent with more audiences throughout the world.
In addition to scholarships, grants and prizes awarded to competition winners, we’d like to give a huge thanks to KHS America Academic Alliance for your generosity in giving away instruments and music stands to mariachi directors and students.
Winners of KHS America Academic Alliance Instruments and Music Stands:
Rio Grande City High School Mariachi Program – Hercules Stands w/ Cart – $1,257
Edcouch-Elsa High School Program – Hercules Stands w/ Cart – $1,257
Guillermo Navarro – Texas A&M Kingsville – Trumpet – $4,449
Roma ISD Mariachi Program – Trumpet/Flugle Horn combo pack – $3,499
College of Southern Nevada Mariachi Program – Trumpet – $4,449
Las Vegas High School Mariachi Program – Guitar –$349
Southwest Legacy High School Mariachi Program – Violin – $799
Sponsors, Supporters, and Volunteers
This event would not be possible without title sponsors Cano Health, H-E-B, and KHS Academic Alliance. Their contribution to the Mariachi Extravaganza created scholarships and resources for students and mariachi programs that will ultimately advance mariachi music education. Additional support was provided by Texas Public Radio, Whataburger, UTSA School of Music, KEDA Radio and the Westside/Southside Sol newspapers.
The 28th Annual Mariachi Extravaganza was dedicated to some very special people who passed on this year and were recognized in the concert program. They included Maestro Rubén Fuentes, who was at the helm of Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán for more than 60 years and Heriberto “El Cura” Molina, considered perhaps the most influential mariachi singer of all time. Also included was Donato Alberto Ávila, director for Mariachi Azul at Fremont Professional Development Middle School in Las Vegas, Nevada and Jesús “Chuy” Muñoz. For 27 years, he was the biggest fan of the Mariachi Extravaganza and was part of the MPR team. They will be missed greatly, along with so many others who are close to our hearts and are no longer with us.
Thanks to everyone who participated in this year’s event and for helping to make it an amazing success. As always, it is a great pleasure for our team at MPR to produce such an exciting event that helps shape the lives of so many youth. Please mark your calendar for November 9-11, 2023 for the 29th Annual Mariachi Extravaganza and we look forward to seeing you once again in the fall. Stay connecting with us by signing up to receive the mariachimusic.com newsletter and by staying connected with us on our social media platforms.
All the best to everyone for a great New Year!!