Nearly 2000 adoring fans of the stirring chords of mariachi music made their way to Texas A&M International University's Fourth Annual Fiesta de Mariachi Saturday, March 2, from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. at the Kinesiology-Convocation Building.
Eighteen middle and high school bands from throughout the region vied for top honors in the day-long competition.
Exhibition Performances were provided by the famed Mariachi Los Arrieros of El Paso and University's award-winning A&M International Mariachi Internacional.
A&M International president Dr. Ray Keck offered a fitting bilingual welcome and said it was the University's privilege to showcase the artistic tradition of mariachi music.
"Fiesta de Mariachi 2002 offers us an opportunity to celebrate this magnificent musical art form. This event is destined to continue to grow as a showcase for this beloved tradition and the talented youngsters that will carry it forward," Dr. Keck said.
Keck noted that with the University's expansion of degree offerings in the arts, and its current construction of the $21 million Center for the Fine and Performing Arts, many of the day's students will find a home for their artistry at the University.
"With this event and others and through collaborations with local and area music educators we hope to encourage those students competing today to consider including the University in their future higher education plans," Dr. Keck said.
Awards were provided for middle, open classification high school and concert classification high school. Open classification bands are those that operate as school clubs or extracurricular activities. Concert classification bands are those that are incorporated into the school's daily curriculum.
Awards and their recipients were:
Best Middle School - First Place: Roma Middle School Mariachi Escandon. Second Place: Zapata Middle School Mariachi Juvenil Halcon A.
Receiving a special award as Best Trumpet Soloist was United Middle School Mariachi Galitas' Tony Reyes.
Open Classification Performance Awards include:
Outstanding High School Performer: Martin Villanueva, McAllen ISD, Orgullo De Mi Ciudad.
Best Female Vocalist: Jessica Barrera, Alexander High School Mariachi Galas de Oro.
Best Flute Section: Martin High School Los Tigres del Sur.
Best Trumpet Section: Eagle Pass High School Aguilas del Norte.
Best String Section: Edinburg North High School Mariachi Oro de Edinburg North.
Best Harmonia Section: Eagle Pass High School.
Best Vocal Section: Edinburg North High School.
Best Showmanship Award: Edinburg North High School.
Best High School -- First Place: Edinburg North; Second Place: Eagle Pass High School. Third Place: McAllen High School.
Concert Classification Performance Awards include:
Outstanding Performance Award: Zapata High School Mariachi Halcon's Tony Arredondo and Javier Hinojosa, Roma High School Mariachi Nuevo Santander.
Best Trumpet Section: Roma High School.
Best Vocal Section: Eagle Pass High School.
Best Harmonia Section: Roma High School.
Best String Section: Zapata High School.
Best Showmanship Award was given to Zapata High School.
Earning Most Valuable Player Award Overall was Rudy Rodriguez, vocalist and trumpetist with Eagle Pass High School - C. C. Winn Campus.
Best High School: First Place: Roma High School. Second Place: Zapata High School. Third Place: Eagle Pass - C. C. Winn Campus.
Judges for the competition were Dr. Fritz Gechter and Jennifer L. Clark, A&M International and members of Los Arrieros: Rolando Morales, Juan Contreras, Luis Enrique Reyes. Carlos Luna, Laredo Independent School District director of bands, was judge coordinator.
Fiesta de Mariachi 2002 Participants included: United Middle School Mariachi Galitas, Zapata Middle School Mariachi Juvenil Halcon B; Zapata Middle School Mariachi Juvenil Halcon A; Roma Middle School Mariachi Escandon; Trautmann Middle School Mariachi Internacional, Alexander High School Mariachi Galas de Oro; Cigarroa High School Mariachi Azteca; and McAllen Independent School District's Orgullo de Mi Ciudad.
Also, United High School Mariachi Del Mar; Edinburg North High School Mariachi Oro de Edinburg North; Cigarroa High School Group 2 Mariachi Azteca; Martin High School Los Tigres del Sur; Eagle Pass High School, Mariachi Aguilas del Norte; and Roma High School Mariachi Nuevo Santander.
Eagle Pass-CC Winn Campus Mariachi Aguilas de Oro; Brackenridge High School Marachi Aguila de Brackenridge; Presidio High School Presidio High School Mariachi Band and Zapata High School, Mariachi Halcon.
For additional information, contact the University's Office of Public Affairs and Information Services at 326.2180.
University office hours are from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.