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Roxeth González and Dayanna Villanueva of McAllen High plus Caridad Hernandez of James “Nikki” Rowe High have qualified for the finals at the 27th annual Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza National Vocal Competition, Dec. 3-4, in San Antonio.

 Nationally, about 300 students competed and only 23 made the finals.

 “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 Trevino said. “We wish them the very best.”

 This is the 11th straight year that McAllen High has sent at least one finalist to the national level. Twice, students have brought home the highest distinction of being named a “Best in The U.S. National Vocal Grand Champion.” This happened in 2015 and 2020.

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

The Extravaganza’s National Vocal Competition is a traditional mariachi event for elementary, middle school, high school and university students. 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.

Students submit an audition video for the preliminary phase of the competition. Videos are reviewed by a panel of judges made up of accomplished entertainment industry professionals.

 McAllen High Mariachi Oro is a six-time state champion in Mariachi. Rowe High has earned a top 10 finish in state competition in the past. McAllen ISD has been named a national Best Community for Music Education for nine consecutive years.

 From the Rio Grande Valley, 13 students qualified in the High School Division while three more qualified in the University Division.