Mariachi celebration honors Hispanic culture


Lifestyle Reporter

The School of Music will close out the year with the sounds of award-winning mariachi.

The Latin Music Studies department will celebrate the 16th annual Feria del Mariachi festival at 7:30 p.m. on May 2 at Strahan Coliseum. John A. Lopez, coordinator of the Latin Music Studies department and associate professor, said the event celebrates the Hispanic culture and influence in San Marcos.

“It is a way to fill the need in San Marcos—to celebrate Hispanic culture through the Mexican art form known as mariachi,” Lopez said.

The event begins with a series of workshops that are open to middle and high school students, Lopez said. He said those who are interested can attend to learn the basic structure of mariachi.

Lopez said department officials hire a guest clinician each year to teach the workshops. This year Sergio Caratachea, violinist and music director at the Mariachi Internacional Guadalajara, was selected to teach.

Alondra Morales, music studies sophomore and violinist for Mariachi Nueva Generacion, said attending the workshops as a high school student was a privilege.

“Being able to work with someone who is a mariachi pioneer was a pretty great experience,” Morales said. “(The experience was) once-in-a-lifetime.”

The workshop challenged her musicianship, but Morales said she recommends the opportunity to anyone interested in mariachi.

Lopez said the workshops are held to recruit students for the School of Music.

“We want to be a leader in the state,” Lopez said. “We want to bring prestige to the university, recognition, and to recruit students.”

Performers will include the second annually selected Texas All-State Mariachi band, Mariachi Nueva Generacion, Sebastien de la Cruz and Las Tesoros de San Antonio.

Lopez said Las Tesoros de San Antonio will receive the Voz de Oro, or Golden Voice, award for boundary-breaking contributions to the genre.

Las Tesoros, an all-female mariachi trio, grew up on the west side of San Antonio. Lopez said the group’s members have dedicated their lives to preserving the art of Mexican music through performances and storytelling.

“We are honoring and celebrating their lifelong work for what has traditionally been (a) male-dominated (genre),” Lopez said.

Lopez is honored to bring Las Tesoros to Texas State because of the band’s renowned musicianship and because his mother is a member.

Lopez said the opportunity to perform with his mother and the group is an honor.

“If you would have told me 40 years ago that I would be accompanying my mother during this song (“Te Vas a Arrepentir”), I wouldn’t believe it,” Lopez said.

Sebastien de la Cruz, America’s Got Talent contestant and singer of the national anthem during the 2011 and 2013 NBA Finals, will also be performing.

“We have known Sebastian since he was 5 years old,” Lopez said. “He is a good friend of the program.”

De la Cruz was awarded the Rising Star Award in 2013, Lopez said. He will present the Voz de Oro award to Las Tesoros.

Lopez said the event will provide an entertaining look at the mariachi culture. He anticipates a successful event.

“We hope to bring prestige to the university and a mariachi concert of the highest caliber to the community,” Lopez said.