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¡Viva Mariachi! Festival Returns to Napa Valley Community College April 6 and 7

The ¡Viva Mariachi! Festival returns to Napa on April 6 and 7.  The weekend-long show at Napa Valley Community College this year includes free full-day mariachi workshops for students with...

Mariachi Los Gavilanes, Mariachi Cantares de mi Tierra, Mariachi de Uclatlán from UCLA and dancers from Grupo Folklórico Quetzalén close out last year's show at Napa Valley Community College (Submitted photo from Napa Valley Community College).

The ¡Viva Mariachi! Festival returns to Napa on April 6 and 7.  The weekend-long show at Napa Valley Community College this year includes free full-day mariachi workshops for students with at least two years of experience playing the violin, trumpet, armonia, guitar, or harp.

The lineup includes Mariachi del Valle from Davis Senior High School, founded in 2018 as the first school-based mariachi course to be offered in Yolo County. Alumni of Mariachi del Valle perform in their communities and have competed in the state mariachi championship. 

Mariachi del Valle was invited to participate in this year’s festival “because it is a model for local Napa County to schools to follow,” according to a press release from the college.

Mariachi Los Gavilanes de Monaco Middle School from Las Vegas, Nevada, is also set to perform at the Viva Mariachi Festival. One of the largest mariachi music programs in the nation, the group has won national recognition and performed at the White House for the Initiative of Educational Excellence for Hispanics, a multi-agency working to increase opportunities for Hispanic American participation in federal education programs. 

Mariachi Plata, composed of 18 students, from College of Southern Nevada in Las Vegas, will close out the concert. For the third year in a row, Mariachi Plata ensemble has reigned as the champions of Mariachi Extravaganza, a competition where schools with distinguished mariachi programs compete nationwide. 

The Viva Mariachi Festival “offers a unique opportunity for our community to learn how these programs are thriving throughout the U.S. because of their effective role in student success,” the press release reads. This will also “enrich the cultural vitality and musical traditions of their institutions and surrounding areas.” 

The Mariachi Instrument Saturday workshops are for musical development and not for college credit. Music 280, Instrument Performance Seminar, counts towards college credit and is offered during the Spring of 2024 as part of an effort to "safeguard cultural traditions."

Students who enroll in the one-day free workshop will have the opportunity to participate in the festival and perform at a student showcase prior to the professional concert. 

 Mariachi Los Gavilanes, Mariachi Cantares de mi Tierra and Mariachi de Uclatlán from UCLA close out last year's show (Submitted photo from Napa Valley Community College).

Performances begin on Saturday, April 6, at 7 p.m. and on Sunday, April 7, at 1 p.m. 

The concert will be 180 minutes long with a 20-minute intermission. Tickets cost $20. To view the full schedule of events, buy tickets and learn more about the workshops being offered or the one-unit credit class, click here.  

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