Three Mariachi performers from McAllen High School plus one middle school student have been selected as finalists for the 20th annual “Best in the U.S.” Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza Vocal Competition Nov. 22 in San Antonio. It was an A+ Moment for Freshman Kamryn Ramírez, sophomore Katherine Pérez, senior Kyline Stephens and sixth grader Christina Lopez of Dr. Rodney D. Cathey Middle School.
The McAllen High trio competed with hundreds of high school students from across the nation via audio/video submissions and were selected for the finals. Lopez qualified in the Middle School Division.
“The Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza is the longest running plus one of the toughest and most prestigious Mariachi Vocal Competitions anywhere,” McAllen High Mariachi Instructor Alex Trevino said. “I am extremely proud of the three of them and they are beyond excited to be competing in the finals in San Antonio at the Lila Cockrell Theatre in front of a live audience.”
The competition will begin with the Elementary/Middle School Division followed by the High School Division, and ending with the College/University Division. Trophies for first, second and third place will be awarded in each division and a final Overall Grand Champion will be selected. In addition, the grand champion could possibly qualify for thousands of dollars in scholarship money and nationwide concert performance opportunities.
“This is an amazing learning and performing experience for our students and they have put in a lot of hard work and dedication to get to this level,” Trevino said.
The McAllen High Mariachi Oro earned the Class 5A State Championship in spring 2014. This past summer, the group earned an “Outstanding Performance Award” and second place overall at the Mariachi Nationals and Summer Institute Conference & Competition in Costa Mesa, California. In addition, Kyline Stephens earned an “Outstanding Performance Award” and took first place in the Mariachi National Vocals performing the winning song, Lo Que Un Día Fue No Será, at the Orange County Fair in California.
McAllen ISD is a two-time winner of the Best Communities in Music Education award from the National Association of Music Merchants.