McAllen mariachi students heading to national vocals contest

Three McAllen ISD students have qualified to compete in the 27th annual Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza National Vocal Competition next week in San Antonio.

Roxeth González, Dayanna Villanueva and Caridad Hernandez are among some 300 students who competed for the slots and just 23 students to make the finals, a release from the district said.

González and Villanueva are students at McAllen High. Hernandez attends James “Nikki” Rowe High.

“We are extremely proud of them for their hard work and dedication to advance to the final round of this prestigious national vocal contest,” McAllen High Mariachi Oro Instructor Alex Treviño wrote in the release. “We wish them the very best.”

McHi has sent finalists to the competition for 11 years running and brought down the “Best in the U.S. National Vocal Grand Champion” award twice, in 2015 and 2020, the release indicated.

“Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza is an annual event which celebrates the history and cultural impact of mariachi music,” it said. “The festival includes concerts by world-renowned musicians and competitions with participants from all across the U.S.”

Students in the competition will submit an audition video for the preliminary phase of the competition, which will be reviewed by a panel of judges made up of accomplished entertainment industry professionals, the release said.

“The Extravaganza’s National Vocal Competition is a traditional mariachi event for elementary, middle school, high school and university students,” it stated. “It is the largest and most competitive mariachi vocal competition in the world and the only one of its kind judged by members of Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán, according to the Mariachi Music website.”

The competition will be held Dec.3-4 in San Antonio.