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Rosarito Beach Hotel to Host 4th Annual Mariachi and Folklorico Festival

Rosarito Beach Hotel to Host 4th Annual Mariachi and Folklorico Festival

The 4th Annual Rosarito Beach International Mariachi & Folklorico Festival returns to the Rosarito Beach Hotel next weekend, with festive and traditionally oriented music and dance programs scheduled from October 2-6, 2013. Ticket prices for the yearly celebration of Mexican culture range from $5 U.S. for movie premiere of Mariachi, to $10 for the daily competitions, and $20 and up for the evening extravaganza on October 5th, with all net profits to benefit the Boys and Girls Club of Rosarito.

According to Rosy Torres and Gil Sperry, the team behind the program, ticket sales have been brisk, and they believe they will be adding more money to the Boys and Girls Club coffer than in any of the previous three years. Their enthusiasm is contagious when they explain the reason they believe this is so. Torres states that the best mariachis in the world will be playing at Rosarito this year, including the acclaimed Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlan, a fifth generation ensemble that has been performing since the founding of the original group in 1897. The festival will also showcase the Mariachi Divas de Cindy Shea, a Grammy award winning all-female group that has been the official mariachi band of Disneyland since 1995.

Mariachi and Folklorico Festival

Gil Sperry and Rosy Torres with the Mariachi Divas de Cindy Shea.

Not only does the festival benefit children monetarily, it also helps to pass on traditional culture, with workshops that teach kids singing, dancing, and how to play mariachi instruments. During the first year of the festival, more than 140 students joined the workshops. This year, Sperry expects more than 500 students to participate. While most of the students come from Baja California, including Sonora, others will be visiting from as far away as San Jose, California; Tucson, Arizona; and Vancouver, British Columbia in Canada. Students will enjoy several days of intensive instruction taught by some of the country’s premier divas and musicians. Then, on Friday night, the students will showcase their talents and what they have learned. There will also a friendly competition on Saturday and Sunday, with the best of the Mexican and United States groups competing against one another.

In recent years, the festival has become the major fundraiser for the Boys and Girls Club in Rosarito. Sperry said that he had never met any member of the Torres family prior to 2009, although he has lived in Rosarito since 1998. Then, in 2009, he was moderating a panel at Cal State University of Los Angeles regarding the positive effects of mariachi music on the education of Hispanic youth. “The best mariachi performers were there,” he said.  “More than 375 people were in attendance. One of those people happened to be Rosy.” She later called him and asked if he could come up with a way to raise money for the club. Sperry immediately suggested the mariachi festival.

According to Sperry, mariachi music was first performed in Mexico in 1519, although the form continued to evolve for another 500 years. Today, a mariachi group might have as many as eight violins, two trumpets, and a guitar. In addition, there is typically a round-backed guitar called a vihuela. Some groups also include a guitarro, which serves as the bass of the ensemble, along with a Mexican folk harp. Although these instruments all have Europeans origins, in their present form they are considered strictly Mexican.

Those interested in enjoying nearly a week of Mexican culture at the Rosarito Beach Hotel may purchase tickets online.

 

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About Jack E. George

Jack E. George is a Baja writer as well as the author of A Broken Charity and The Autism Handbook (published in English, Spanish, and Chinese).

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