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TAMIU’s Mariachi Internacional Places First at New Mexico Competition Posted: 7/19/16

TAMIU’s Mariachi Internacional Places First at New Mexico Competition


TAMIU's Mariachi International make us proud!  

Members of the Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) Mariachi Internacional hit all the right notes at this past weekend’s 26th Annual Mariachi Spectacular Competition in Albuquerque, N.M., scoring First Place in the University Division in their first competition appearance.

 Under the direction of TAMIU Mariachi director Dr. Oswaldo Zapata, the 15-member unit wowed the nine-member judging panel at the Mariachi Spectacular de Albuquerque, held at the Albuquerque Convention Center. 

Two Mariachi Internacional students, Luis Leal on violin and Antonio Resendez on trumpet, were selected by audition to perform in the Masters level of the Conference. This is considered the highest level of Conference instruction and a great accomplishment and honor to be selected.

TAMIU vice president for Student Success, Dr. Minita Ramírez, who attended the event, said the students created quite a sensation.

“It was obvious to us that our students’ soulful artistry and performance really connected with the audience in this, their first appearance. We had multiple inquiries from other students and their parents about how they could join our program, visit TAMIU, participate in our annual Mariachi Festival and help develop a special grant for a student program with counterparts in Chicago.  These students are essentially musical ambassadors, and they have truly opened eyes and hearts to TAMIU,” Dr. Ramírez explained. 

Dr. Zapata concurred.

“Our students represented TAMIU and Laredo in the best possible way.  They sacrificed their summer to prepare for this competition and to hold fundraising events.  They performed at a high level of artistry that many mariachi directors and students from across the nation recognized.  I could not be more proud.  We received compliments from musicians from Boston, Chicago, Denver, Arizona, California, New Mexico and others.  Our students are more motivated than ever to continue working hard to make our University and Laredo’s artistry nationally recognized,” Zapata said.

Student members of the TAMIU Mariachi Internacional include vocalists and instrumentalists. Violins: Carlos Alvarado, Alyssa Gallegos, Luis Leal, Eloy R. Martínez and Esmeralda Salazar.  Trumpets:  Javier Andrade, Ricardo Martínez, Antonio Resendez and Angel Torres. Arpa: Marco D. Guerra. Guitarrón: Arturo Guerrero.  Vihuela: David Reyes.  Guitarra de Golpe:  Juan Alvarado.  Guitars:  Alice Almanza and Mario Alvarado.

The week-long Conference also included workshops, master classes, lectures, informal “jam” sessions and a performance at the Sandia Resort and Casino’s 4200-seat Outdoor Amphitheatre.  It culminated with an Annual Mariachi Mass at the historic San Jose Parish. 

This year’s guest artists included the famed Mariachi Nuevo Tecalitlán, Mariachi Divas, Mariachi Tierra Querida de Ismael Hernández, and guests Alondra Hernández and the Hermanos Escamilla, professional ropers.  Selected student competition winners, including TAMIU students, joined in the evening’s concert performance. 

Mariachi Nuevo Tecalitlán, official TAMIU Artists in Residence who have worked closely with TAMIU Mariachi Internacional, were especially pleased with the TAMIU troupe’s performance and enthusiastic response by the audience.  Nuevo Tecalitlán will return to TAMIU for their ongoing Artists in Residence series in October and November and will once again headline the popular TAMIU Mariachi Festival in April 2017. 

The annual competition and Conference is made possible by The Atrisco Companies, an evolution of the Atrisco Land Grant, a famed Albuquerque area land grant to 17th Century immigrants to the community.   Through its various companies, Atrisco supports cultural and educational efforts while seeking to preserve Hispanic history and cultural traditions such as the Mariachi musical identity. 

The students’ trip was partially funded by the University, but students raised an additional $3000 with their own fundraising drive. They have their sights set on a return visit to the 27th Annual Mariachi Spectacular Competition…and say they are focusing on earning the “Best of Show” honor in their second appearance.

For more about the University’s Mariachi Internacional, contact  Dr. Zapata at 956.326.3044, email or visit offices in the Center for the Fine and Performing Arts, Suite 209. 

For more about the Mariachi Spectacular de Albuquerque, visit  A Facebook site including performance videos is at

TAMIU Mariachi Internacional

Members of the TAMIU Mariachi Internacional are pictured at the Mariachi Spectacular de Albuquerque.

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