This summer, mariachi students entering grades nine through 12 will have the unique opportunity to explore their musical passions and refine their skills at the 2024 UTSA Mariachi All-State Summer Clinic. The first summer camp at UTSA to focus on mariachi music, the program will provide a focused experience that dives into the genre’s culture and tradition. It will be presented by UTSA Arts and the UTSA School of Music.

The program will take place in the Main Campus Arts Building from Monday, July 15, to Thursday, July 18.

The summer camp primarily emphasizes the mastery of music for the 2024-2025 Texas Music Educators Association All-State Mariachi auditions through segmented rehearsals and one-on-one instruction. The competitive, statewide auditions see thousands of highly dedicated and skilled mariachi students participate annually to earn a spot in the elite All-State Mariachi Ensemble. The auditions require students to perform challenging music excerpts that require an exceptional skill level. To make an All-State ensemble in any category is an extraordinary accomplishment that can benefit students applying for colleges and scholarships.

During the camp, students will learn how to improve their musicianship through personalized and group instruction that covers the many elements and traditions of mariachi music. The camp will help students develop a more effective approach to practicing and performing mariachi music, a deeper understanding of the genre’s core components, and confidence in the musicians’ unique strengths as performers.

“The rapid growth of our mariachi program has positively impacted both the students and the school, driving us to achieve this camp,” said Michael Acevedo, director of UTSA Mariachi Los Paisanos.

Acevedo joined UTSA’s music faculty in 2010 and has since led their mariachi program to new levels of success in recent years, winning awards in competitions and attracting students to the university through exclusive mariachi scholarships.

“More students are now choosing to come to UTSA because of our mariachi program,” Acevedo said. “This has been a long-standing goal, and now we are experiencing significant momentum and deeper integration within the community.”

Mariachi Los Paisanos is currently one of the School of Music’s fastest-growing ensembles. More music majors are participating in the group, according to Acevedo, adding that he has some students who have changed their degrees to music after participating in the mariachi band.

Acevedo recruited expert instructors to the summer camp to deliver a unique opportunity for students to learn from some of the best mariachi musicians in Texas.

Jonathan Palomar will assist with voice and guitar instruction. The veteran musician descends from a family lineage steeped in talent and mariachi music. He is a guitarist and vocalist for the world-famous Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlan, and he served as artistic director of the 2023 Mariachi Extravaganza, where he met Acevedo.

William Galvez will assist with the armonia section, which consists of guitarron, guitar, and vihuela, and voice. He is a multi-instrumentalist for the mariachi group Trio Chapultepec and teaches the genre in public school as an armonia and voice specialist. Galvez is also a former Mariachi Extravaganza National Vocal Competition winner, where he was awarded “Best Mariachi Vocalist” in 2013.

Completing the summer camp’s line-up of clinicians and leading the violin sectional is recent UTSA master’s graduate Eric Garcia, M.M. ’24. Garcia was Acevedo’s student during his undergraduate studies, and he recently participated in UTSA’s mariachi ensembles last year as a graduate student. Garcia teaches mariachi music at John Jay High School and actively performs with the San Antonio-based group Mariachi Azteca.

The Mariachi Summer Clinic will culminate in a final concert in the UTSA Recital Hall (ART 2.03.02B) at 4 p.m. on Thursday, July 18. Students will showcase their progress and the music they worked on throughout the week to a live audience.