June 10, 2005

First Annual Mariachi Conference Tunes Up

Chula Vista International Mariachi Conference seeks local and visiting musicians to learn from the best

Mariachi experts from the Sweetwater Union High School District and international professionals from around the world will gather for four days in June to groom the next generation of the culturally rich genre. Hundreds of students from Southern California and neighboring states are expected to attend this exciting blend of mariachi and ballet folklórico instruction and exhibition—but there’s room for many more.

Hosted by the Mariachi Scholarship Foundation of the Sweetwater District, this first annual conference lines up expert workshops for students of mariachi music. After three days of study and perfecting of techniques—June 23, 24 and 25—the conference culminates in the Mariachi Showcase and Festival Concert on June 26, an all-day event for the general public.

The conference workshops will be held at Otay Ranch High School, 1250 Olympic Parkway, Chula Vista. Instruction in violin, trumpet, guitar, vihuela, guitarrón, harp and voice will be offered at three skill levels. There will also be three levels of instruction in baile folklórico. Workshop instructors include members of the world-renowned Mariachi Sol de México de Jose Her-nandez and Mariachi Reyna de Los Angeles. In addition, three legendary members of the world’s greatest mariachi, the Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán, will come from Mexico City to share their knowledge and experiences: trumpeter Miguel Martínez, one of the most accomplished musicians in maria-chi history; and Jesús Rod-ríguez de Hijar and Rigoberto Alfaro, two of the most influential mariachi arrangers and directors of the past century. Workshop registration is $50 for local students, $75 for out of area students. For more information, or to register, contact Mark Fogelquist at 619-691-5499 or Sandi Smith at 619-585-4405.

The Mariachi Showcase and Festival Concert will be held at Rancho del Rey Mid-dle School, 1174 East J Street, Chula Vista on Sunday, June 26. From 11:00 to 4:00, groups registered at the conference will demonstrate their skill and artistry. Among those appearing will be the Sweetwater District’s award-winning mariachis: Mariachi Chula Vista, Mariachi Chapultepec, Mariachi Azteca, Mariachi Agua Dulce and Mariachi Griego. In addition, workshop participants will unite as a giant mariachi to show off the fruits of three days of intensive work in the conference workshops.

Internationally recognized Mariachi Sol de México de José Hernández will take the stage for the Festival Concert at 5 p.m. that day. This group has appeared throughout the United States, Latin America and Europe, and is the only mariachi to have performed in China and North Korea. The Mariachi Sol de México invariably leaves audiences spellbound with their electrifying performances. The Mariachi Showcase and Festival Concert event is offered to the public at family prices: $10 for adults and $5 for children under 12. For tickets contact Sandi Smith at 619-585-4405.

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