Los Barones de BVH take the stage at first competition of the year


Provided by Valeria Gonzalez

Los Barones de BVH perform “Novillero” by Pedro Fernández at Bayside Park. The group’s overall performance earned them third place.

Adali Leon, Staff Artist

Performers swayed their instruments gently, playing to the tones of “Novillero” by Pedro Fernández. On March 8, the Bonita Vista High (BVH) mariachi group, Los Barones de Bonita Vista, participated in the International Mariachi Festival alongside performers from different cities, states and countries gathered at Bayside Park. BVH won third place in the high school division of this competition that took place from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

BVH Mariachi has competed in the International Mariachi Festival several times before and has won second and third place. Violinist, soloist and sophomore Belen Lara-Trejo participated in last year’s festival performance and believes that the practice and rehearsals they do are worth it once they are on stage performing. Lara-Trejo was the soloist singer of one of the most complimented songs: “Paloma Negra” by Chavela Vargas.

“We’re hopeful that we might actually get first, second or third place [this year]. It is a competition, because one of our biggest competitions isn’t going to make it this year. So we’re hoping to take their place,” Lara-Trejo said prior to the performance, referring to a professional mariachi band from Las Vegas.

 BVH Mariachi started practicing for the festival at the beginning of the semester and practiced  different songs and music styles. They had their final rehearsal the day before the event where they tuned their instruments and got their suits fitted. Beginning Guitar, Guitar Intermediate, Beginning Mariachi and Advanced Mariachi teacher Guadalupe Gonzalez explained why the preparation and performance are so beneficial to his students.

“The competition provides the students with the opportunity to master the skills needed to take on the challenge during performance. We also used the competition to practice performing in front of an audience—a big responsibility,” Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez also teaches mariachi at Montgomery High (MH), whose mariachi group also competes at the festival. Violinist and junior Valeria Gonzalez explains that BVH Mariachi does not consider MH a rival, but a group they admire and try to live up to.

“We have to work really hard because they’re really good. Montgomery’s a really good school so it’s a lot to live up to because we have the same teacher. We have to play at an adequate level [as] Montgomery does,” V. Gonzalez said.

While some people get stage-fright when performing in front of a big audience, Lara-Trejo believes she is the opposite—performing gives her a sense of purpose.

“I feel at home onstage and there’s something so freeing about making music and entertaining others. It might sound a little weird for someone who’s just 15 but it really feels like it’s my purpose to perform. All the pre-show jitters go away and I’m left in the zone. I absolutely love it,” Lara-Trejo said.

For V. Gonzalez, performing on stage is something she could not imagine living without. Specifically from this performance, V. Gonzalez stated she learned “that no matter how much you prepare there are so many things that could go wrong,” but was still very proud of how her group did since many of her teammates were performing for the first time.

“Performing is everything for me, it’s what I live for. It’s one of the greatest feelings to perform on stage and especially when I get to do it with such an amazing group like our mariachi,” V. Gonzalez said.

After the performance, the performers expressed how nervous they were during the performance, especially when one of the violins’ strings popped and a trumpet soloist choked and had to stop playing. Despite these setbacks, V. Gonzalez believes they continued to perform the best they could, and ultimately won third place.

“I am beyond proud of how the mariachi [team] did at the competition, for a lot of them it was their first time performing on a stage like that and they did great. Yesterday’s performance really showed the huge progress the mariachi made from their first performance last semester,” V. Gonzalez said.