When an initial event is planned, the thought of celebrating it annually, let alone in perpetuity, is usually not the main focus of the organizers. It’s a frenetic time fraught with peril and the recurring nightmare of the expected audience not appearing at the appointed time and place is a sleep disruptor of epic proportions.
Five years later, although the initial fears are gone, others have replaced them including the significantly increased workload of planning a (now) five day festival, not merely a single evening’s concert. However, the funds raised over the time period since the first event took place are proof positive that a large loyal and vociferous audience of followers has been created. The quality of the music and the pageantry of the performances have been the driving factors leading to the continued and growing success.
The 5th Anniversary Rosarito Beach International Mariachi & Folklorico Festival promises to be ‘one for the ages’ as well as ‘one for all ages.’ 2013’s student attendees ran the gamut from 10 to 67.
Rosy Torres, the President of the local Club de Ninos y Ninas (Boys and Girls Club) has graciously shared the information and the preliminary schedule with the representatives of the print /broadcast media. Word of mouth has already resulted in brisk ticket sales so for those readers interested in attending any of the festival’s sessions open to the public NOW would be a good time to take action. All the information you need to purchase tickets will be included at the end of this article.
The festivities open with the arrival of up to 500 students and their maestros on Tuesday, September 30th. Three days of rigorous instruction will follow. Since instrumental music has not been part of the public school curriculum of Mexico since 1934, the support of the State of Baja’s Secretary of Education for the Talleres (Workshops) in allowing those enrolled in schools to attend the Workshops, in lieu of regular classes, will definitely be a major contributing factor to the anticipated record attendance and success of the tutorial sessions. The teachers in each category…mariachi, vocal skills, and ballet folklorico…are all world class practitioners of their art.
During the first three days (October 1st-3rd) of the conclave, there will be several unique events open to the public. After classes conclude on Wednesday, October 1st, groups selected by the Directors will be providing complimentary entertainment at local restaurants. After classes on Thursday, October 2nd, the ceremonies honoring this year’s Salon de Fama (Hall of Fame) inductees will take place followed by a gala ‘Cocktails with the Stars’ celebration (bebidas, botanas, and photos with the soiree’s headliners) in the hotel’s beautiful Salon de Quixote. On Friday, October 3rd, after classes, the weekend’s fabulous entertainment package officially commences with the Inauguracion (Grand Opening) under the stars featuring introductions and the ribbon cutting, a Banda la Guerra (flags presentation) of the international countries represented (currently Mexico, The United States of America, Canada, The Netherlands, Japan, and the Navajo Nation), The Student Showcase (supported by Mariachi Sonido de Mexico and BF Tapatio), and a Professional Performances Concert featuring Mariachi Tesoro de Tucson, Nizhoni Camille Begay, Carolina de Holanda and Dwayne Verheyden (superstars from The Netherlands), Kotolan (featuring Junko Seki) and Latin Grammy nominee Trio Ellas.
Saturday, October 4th will be the centerpiece of the 5th anniversary celebration. It will begin with the Mariachi Competencia (Competition) at 10: 00 AM. Four of the best groups from Mexico and The United States will compete for $2500 in prize money. Noon will mark the beginning of the highly popular ‘ People’s Choice’ vocal competition and 1:00 PM will signal the start of the Ballet Folklorico Competencia (Competition) where four of the best groups from north and south of the border will dance off for another $2500 in appropriately divided-up prize money.
Saturday evening’s Concierto Extravaganza will feature virtuoso performances by three of the world’s finest exponents of mariachi. Mariachi Espectacular, under the Musical Direction of the multiple Grammy award-winning Alberto ‘Beto’ Jimenez, the multiple Grammy award-winning Mariachi Divas de Cindy Shea, and el mejor del mundo, Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlan.
Sunday October 5th’s two concluding events will be very special. For the very first time, the Misa de Panamericana (The Mariachi Mass), written nearly fifty five years ago by the French Canadian priest Father Juan Marco LeClerc, will be performed in Rosarito for the first time ever. It will be followed by a mariachi wedding featuring a maestro whom we all know and love as he and his bride-to-be take the wedding vows in a beautiful oceanfront ceremony.
Impartial observers would definitely agree that Rosy and her helpers have put together a once-in-a-lifetime 5th anniversary celebration. Traditional gifts commemorating this benchmark event are made of wood, symbolizing strength and a solidified relationship, while contemporary keepsakes are crafted from silver, symbolizing connectivity. Strong, solid, connected…three great adjectives definitely describing this special anniversary to remember.