Las Cruces Mariachi Show is a lively learning experience

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The Show is the culmination of the four-day Mariachi Las Cruces International Conference in which aspiring musicians of all ages are exposed to the particular musical genre, learning it from scratch. (Courtesy of Las Cruces International Mariachi Conference)

A powerful collection of Mariachi Maestros will headline the upcoming Las Cruces International Mariachi Spectacular Concert on Friday, November 12th.

The Show is the culmination of the four-day Mariachi Las Cruces International Conference in which aspiring musicians of all ages are exposed to the particular musical genre, learning it from scratch.

“This is a workshop for students,” said Robert Palacios, conference director. “We teach all the main instruments of the Mariachi orchestra; violin, trumpet, guitar and guitarrón, vihuela and voice. What’s great is that this year our workshop teachers are Mariachi Cobre, who is celebrating her 50th birthday.

In the workshops, students learn traditional dance and music. (Courtesy of Las Cruces International Mariachi Conference)

Like most other events in the state, the conference and concert were interrupted last year by virus-related health mandates, so this year organizers wanted something special.

“This year we are celebrating 28 years,” said Palacios. “It’s going to be a beautiful celebration because last year we couldn’t because of COVID. This is the first time that we have hosted an in-person event since 2019. We missed it very much.

Students learn traditional dance and music, with dancers trained in folk ballet movements.

“It’s very intensive,” he says. “We have a repertoire and a choreography for the dancers.

Marachi Cobre has performed around the world and was the main conference instructor for over two decades. (Courtesy of Las Cruces International Mariachi Conference)

The majority of students are of school age and come from community programs or schools.

“But we accept all ages,” Palacios said. “We have older students coming to the workshops and we take all levels from beginner to advanced. It’s good to have experience but we take all levels.

The students then kicked off the Show at the Pan American Center at New Mexico State University, he said.

“At the start of the Show, the students started, alongside their instructors,” Palacios said, rewarding the hard work they put in.

Then the professionals come into the picture.

Steeven Sandoval, violinist and singer, will perform alongside Mariachi Cobre. (Courtesy of Las Cruces International Mariachi Conference)

The headliner, Steeven Sandoval, La Voz del Mariachi, violinist and singer, will perform alongside Mariachi Cobre.

“Steeven Sandoval was one of the two best mariachis in the world, Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán for 14 years and Mariachi Nuevo Tecalitlán for five years, both as a violinist and singer,” said Palacios.

Sandoval is considered one of the best supporters of the Ranchero genre behind songs such as “Por Amor”, “A los Cuatro Vientos”, “Te Hubieras Ido Antes”, “Si La Ven” and “100 Litros de Tequila”.

Shortly before the pandemic, Sandoval sold one of Mexico’s most iconic theaters, El Teatro Degollado, in Guadalajara, Jalisco.

Joining Sandoval from Disney World in Orlando, Florida, Mariachi Cobre performed across the world, accompanying such figures as Lola Beltrán, Linda Ronstadt, Pepe Aguilar, Pedro Fernández, Ana Bárbara and Graciela Beltrán.

The group has been the principal instructors of the conference for more than two decades.

Adding to the star power of the night, Mariachi Femenil Flores Mexicanas, who is celebrating her 20th anniversary, will perform for the first time in the Spectacular. The group is notable as an all-girl group that has accompanied Grammy-winning and international singer and performer Lila Downs. The group also accompanied Juan Gabriel in concert in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico. The group featured in the November 2019 issue of Vogue Mexico magazine and participated in the filming of PBS’s “La Frontera” starring Pati Jinich, which aired last October.

“We’re making a big effort and a grassroots effort to get people to attend,” Palacios said. “The conference has had a number of very good years, but it’s difficult. For me, the most important are the workshops and the transmission of traditions. The spectacular is the part they get to see their hard work. We try to strike a balance between introducing well-known mariachis and highlighting educational opportunities for students. “


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