Celeste Curiel, a Texas State University music student, became the first Bobcat to win “Best Mariachi Vocalist in the U.S.” at the Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza competition in San Antonio.
Curiel won the title, reserved for the top national soloist, by beating out 41 finalists from Texas, California, Harvard University and the Berklee School of Music.
Texas State’s Mariachi Nueva Generacion garnered second place in the ensemble competition, having placed first the three previous years. Celeste Rios, also made the solo finals and earned second place. Former Texas State undergraduate voice student, Amanda Sanchez, earned third place.
“I was shocked to win,” Curiel said. “Performing in front of so many people was an exhilarating rush.”
Texas State also competed with Mariachi Lince de Oro (Golden Bobcats). The Mariachi Nueva Generacion ensemble also accompanied winner Celeste Curiel on Saturday evening at the evening concert with Mariachi Vargas.
Curiel is a San Antonio native studying vocal performance in the Opera Studies program after receiving her B.A. in music at Texas State. She studies voice with Juli Wood and studied for the competition with Texas State voice specialist in Hispanic and mariachi music, Juanita Ulloa. Curiel was recently also recognized as a fourth place winner at the National Association of Teachers of Singing Competition.
Texas State had never competed in the solo portion of the competition until 2008, when singers Vanessa Moreno and Amanda Sanchez first made the finals.
— FROM TEXAS STATE NEWS SERVICE/JAYME BLASCHKE