The fact that a budding musician can earn an associate’s degree in mariachi from the Southwestern College in Chula Vista is testament to the reach of the Latino culture in Southern California and the magic and power of mariachi music to that culture.
We found this an interesting fact, considering Southwestern’s premiere and quite renowned group, Mariachi Garibaldi, was one of the top-billed performers at the 2011 Mariachi Festival Sin Fronteras in Calexico over the weekend.
Mariachi Garibaldi kept that tradition going, with the added bonus that five of the group’s members are Imperial Valley natives. At least 10 people from the Valley have graced the group with their presence in its 12-year history.
This year, perhaps more than any other, is an important one for the Mariachi Festival, as not only was this the 20th anniversary but this year also marked the release of the latest census in which Imperial County grew to 85 percent Latino, the largest Latino concentration in the United States.
The culture and the heritage is strong in Imperial County and will only get stronger in years to come, as some have predicted a 95 percent Latino saturation locally by 2020.
Pretty much everywhere you look and everything you do in the Valley speaks to and reminds us of our rich Latino culture, but the annual Mariachi Festival orchestrated by the Calexico Chamber of Commerce has always given that culture and heritage the pageantry it deserves.
This past week has been no exception. For several days, each evening was marked with a party or performance, by local mariachi talents and would-be singers participating in the Mariachi Idol contest. And young upstarts — that is, kids with a dream of performing the music of their parents and grandparents, were taken through their paces in professional-style workshops.
The Mariachi Festival has become just as important to the Valley as any of the longstanding and reoccurring events in the Valley, and we’re so pleased to see it having celebrated its 20th anniversary. The event — all the events tied to it through the week — was fabulous. We can’t wait for next year.
The Mariachi Festival still is going strong, 20 years later.
The festival has become just as important to the Valley as any other longstanding event.
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