Mariachi Spectacular includes USPS stamp unveiling, Mass - Albuquerque Journal

Mariachi Spectacular includes USPS stamp unveiling, Mass

Mariachi Plata de Western New Mexico University performs on campus earlier this summer. (Courtesy of Western New Mexico University)

In its 30th iteration, the Mariachi Spectacular de Albuquerque continues to promote culture, arts and excellence in art education contributing to the cultural understanding and appreciation of Mariachi folk music and dance in New Mexico.

“We’ve presented the conference and event for 30 years,” says Peter Sanchez, The Atrisco Companies chief executive officer. “Each night there is an event that helps add to the culture.”

The conference runs through Friday, July 15.

The United States Postal Service will release the mariachi stamps in Albuquerque on Friday, July 15. (Courtesy of USPS)

At 11:30 a.m. Friday, July 15, there will be the mariachi stamp reveal at the Kiva Auditorium at the Albuquerque Convention Center, 401 Second St. NW. The U.S. Postal Service chose the Albuquerque-based event to unveil the limited edition stamps, which feature mariachi players. The event is free to the public.

Later on in the day, from 6-10 p.m. on Friday, July 15, at Civic Plaza, 1 Civic Plaza, the festival will have its Mariachi Showcase Concert, which features mariachi students who participated in the conference. This event is also free to the public.

Mariachi Plata de Western New Mexico University, the state’s only competitive university mariachi, is slated to perform as part of this event. The 17 WNMU student musicians are majoring in other fields while minoring in music and carrying on our region’s cultural identity with traditional tunes.

“These students grew up in the Hispanic tradition and learned to play mariachi in their hometowns. The Western New Mexico University mariachi program allows them to continue expressing themselves artistically,” says Bryant Chaffino, Mariachi Plata director, in a statement.

Mariachi Plata de WNMU is a past winner of the collegiate category at Mariachi Spectacular, and the group is aiming for another top-notch performance.

With nine students on violin, three on trumpets and five in the rhythm section, Mariachi Plata de WNMU will play with a medley of their Mariachi Plata de WNMU tema, “El Gavilancillo” and “El Gavilán” in the concert and close their performance with a famous Juan Gabriel song “Te Dedico Esta Canción.”

“We’re passionate about our heritage and are glad to be able to share it with others through music,” said the ensemble’s lead vocalist Yusaleth Lozano, a WNMU business student.

At 11 a.m. Saturday, July 16, at St. Anne’s Catholic Church, 1400 Arenal Road SW, there will be the Mariachi Mass.

The event and conference has been in planning stages since January and a concert at Sandia Resort & Casino on Saturday, July 16, will end the nearly weeklong festivities. The concert will feature Mariachi Sol de Mexico de José Hernandez, Mariachi Reyna de Los Angeles, Mariachi Estrella de Mexico and Los Hermanos Escamillas.

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