|UTPA's award-winning Mariachi Aztlán took home another accolade March 9 winning the 2013 Mariachi Invitational held during the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. The group bested six professional mariachi groups to win the first place trophy and $7,500 in prize money.|
"It was very challenging but the students were great," said Dr. Dahlia Guerra, dean of UTPA's College of Arts and Humanities and founder of UTPA's mariachi program.
The group is led by Musical Director Francisco Loera from UTPA's Departments of Modern Languages and Literature and Music and Dance.
In their roles as musical ambassadors representing the beauty of Hispanic music and cultural traditions, the Mariachi Aztlán has become one of the most honored musical groups in South Texas and have travelled by invitation nationwide to promote Mexican folk music and culture.
The musicians are three-time Grand Champions of the Mariachi Spectacular de Albuquerque, besting both collegiate and professional groups in 2006, 2009 and 2010. The group participated at the invitation of the Houston Grand Opera in the 2010 premiere of the world's first mariachi opera Cruzar la Cara de la Luna (Crossing the Face of the Moon). In 2011, the group performed for thousands in the famed Hollywood Bowl and in 2012 they presented in Washington, D.C., at the Smithsonian Institution's Folklife Festival as part of its "Campus and Community Program."
In April, the Mariachi Aztlán will bring its amazing sound and Bronc Country spirit to Chicago where they will present an encore performance of Cruzar La Cara de la Luna with the Chicago Lyric Opera.
See more photos of the Mariachi Aztlán in Houston at the Houston Chronicle website.