It's an extremely rare occurrence when arguably the three greatest of anything on our planet are united in one place at one time for your enjoyment. Besides being an extremely unique happening, it is also uncommonly convenient when it is the acknowledged best-of-the-best of a particular musical genre that have been brought together for its aficionados. Thanks to the efforts of an unlikely protagonist, The Boys and Girls Club of Rosarito Beach (MX), a trio of superstar performers of Mexico's award-winning cultural contribution to the world ...mariachi recently received UNESCO's coveted Patrimonio... are combining for a memorable entertainment event just an easy thirty minute drive from down-town San Diego.
Mariachi Aguila de Tijuana is the best of Baja's practitioners of the genre. Under the leadership of trumpet maestro Simon Garcia, they were the premier group performing at the legendary La Vuelta venue on Avenida Revolucion and at its latest iteration, Museo del Tequila y Mariachi. They have represented their state for the past seven year's at Guadalajara's Encuentro Internacional del Mariachi y la Charreria, the seminal event that began in 1984. Aguila has backed such superstars of Mexican music as Juan Gabriel, Pandora, Julieta Venegas, Luis Miguel, and the late Jenni Rivera. The Club de Ninos y Ninas Seccion Rosarito has been honored to have them volunteer to teach the basics of the music to its at-risk children.
The Mariachi Divas de Cindy Shea, the trend-setting all-female ensemble who have been the official mariachi of Disneyland since 1995, generously donated their time and talents to kick-off the first fund-raising event for the Club back in 2010. This was a major contributing factor to the success of the record crowds at the fledgling 1st Annual Rosarito Beach International Mariachi & Folklorico Festival since The Divas are a Grammy Award-winner. They are also recipients of five more Grammy nominations (no group regardless of gender has come close to this accomplishment) and are a great attraction wherever they perform. Last spring they headlined in March at Branson's (MO) Silver Dollar City and this year will be traveling to Dolly Parton's legendary Tennessee theme park, Dollywood, for a month long engagement beginning in April.
When any practitioner calls themselves the best in the world, they had better be confident that they are, as Tina Turner sang, '...simply the best, better than all the rest.' Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlan proudly proclaims that they are 'el mejor en el todo mundo' and nobody disputes this claim. Founded in 1897 and now featuring their 5th generation of performers, they have performed on four continents as they continue to evolve and improve, a seemingly impossible task...to improve on perfection! Their present maestro, Jose 'Pepe' Martinez, recently composed the critically acclaimed (and first) mariachi opera, 'Cruzar la Cara de la Luna' (To Cross the Face of The Moon) which debuted at the Houston (TX) Opera House before being performed at the Theatre de Chatelet in Paris, a legendary venue which opened in 1862 and hosted performances by greats such as Peter Tchaikovsky, Edvard Grieg, Richard Strauss, & Claude Debussy, amongst others.
These three supernova groups will be performing for the first time ever on the same stage on Saturday evening, October 5th, at the legendary iconic oceanfront venue, the Rosarito Beach Hotel. And while the event's organizers, the local Boys and Girls Club, will benefit by receiving 100% of the net proceeds from this Concierto Espectacular for its building and operational needs, this is not nearly the entire story. The actual five-day encuentro, now Mexico's second largest of its kind (after Guadalajara), is so much more with the young musicians, vocalists, and dancers from both sides of the border as its major focii. Here's a brief overview of the comprehensive schedule of activities:
Tuesday evening, October 1st: the directors and instructors of the music, vocal, and dance programs will arrive at the festival venue for check-in, a welcoming dinner, and a planning meeting. This select group will include members of Aguila Tijuana, The Mariachi Divas, and Mariachi Vargas. The musical curriculum and responsibilities will be finalized at that time.
Wednesday morning, October 2nd: three days of Talleres (Workshops) will follow in the areas of mariachi, vocal performance, and baile folklórico. Categories of performance will be separated into Beginners, Intermediate and Advanced. Entry into the Master’s class will be determined by adjudicated auditions.
Wednesday evening, October 2nd, the annual Mariachi Film Festival will be presented in the hotel's main showroom, the Salon Mexicano. Already selected by the festival committee for this year's screening is the Public Broadcasting System’s award-winning documentary, 'Mariachi High.'
Thursday evening, October 3rd, will feature a 'Dining with the Stars' fund-raising dinner at the home of the festival’s organizers. The concert’s three headlining groups will be honored at this special event.
Friday evening, October 4th, will find a combination Student Showcase & Professionals Performance being held in the hotel’s newly reconfigured ocean front garden performance area which will be able to accommodate an audience of 3000. All student groups registering for the Talleres will get to perform, as well as the professional groups that are invited which currently include Mariachi Tesoro de Tucson (AZ), Mariachi Estrella de Chula Vista (CA), Mariachi Sonido de Mexico (AZ), Mariachi Voz de America (CA), and Baile Folklórico Tapatio (AZ)
Saturday and Sunday, October 5th and 6th (during the day, from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM) will spotlight Competencias between Mexico and the United States’ best mariachi and folklórico groups (in two categories: Intermediate and Advanced) as well as the pre-registered Sing Off for individual vocalists in those two categories between Noon and 1:00 PM. The awarding of $10,000 in prize money will take place Sunday afternoon just before the closing ceremonies. This is definitely one event that you won’t want to miss. For all the info, please contact Rosy Torres, President of the Boys & Girls Club, at: firstname.lastname@example.org or via phone at: (661) 850-1773.
One final note: while this event is scheduled seven plus months from the original date of this article's publication, please keep in mind that Mariachi Vargas has never performed in Rosarito Beach in their 115 years existence and that the oceanfront event venue is very special. Seating is limited and the event organizers anticipate a sell-out well in advance of the actual night of performance. In addition, if you...or a loved one...would like to be taught music, vocals, or dance by living legends, this is the opportunity at prices you won't believe. When people donate their time and talents for a worthy cause, everybody benefits. Give Rosy a call!!!