Characterizing the music of Campanas de America as simply “mariachi” does not describe the entire musical spectrum produced by this group of multi-talented musicians. This premier American musical ensemble is made so distinct by its ability to combine traditional Mexican mariachi music with Latin and mainstream pop rhythms. From the traditional folkloric “La Negra” to toe-
tapping, boot-scootin’ “Lone Star Medley,” Campanas de America typifies the essence of what it means to be Mexican-American.
Campanas de America will headline Mariachi Showcase at Alice High School in Alice, Texas on April 16 at 7:30 p.m. Winners of the Dia Del Mariachi Group and Vocal Competition, held on April 16 starting at 8:30 a.m., will also perform on the concert stage.
Under the charge of Musical Director Juan Ortiz, Campanas de America appeals to a wide audience. Young, old, Spanish and non-Spanish speakers enjoy the sights and sounds of this modern day, maverick mariachi group. Often times, spectators are so moved by the music that they forge an impromptu dance floor mid-performance. Dancing coupled with “gritos,” or Mexican yells of enthusiasm, transforms a Campanas concert into an instant fiesta.
Founded in 1978 in San Antonio, Campanas de America (Bells of America) was named after Belle Ortiz, Juan’s wife and the group’s manager. The troupe has gained national recognition and has attributed much of its’ success to the philosophy: “Education is key.”
Campanas is a great force behind mariachi education programs in public schools. Several of the members of Campanas are instructors in various San Antonio school musical programs.
Through the years, Campanas de America has gained broader national and international recognition from performances across the country. In fact, they are the first and only mariachi to display an instrument at the internationally recognized Hard Rock Café. Their list of appearances include Aladdin Casino (Las Vegas); Willie Nelson Farm Aid, Bally’s Hotel and Casino; Austin Music Hall (SXSW); Kumamoto Festival (Japan); Hollywood Bowl; Kennedy Center for San Antonio Symphony Pops Concerts; Performing Arts Houston Symphony Concert “Fiesta Sinfonica;” The Hispanic Heritage Awards; Presidential Hispanic Inaugural Gala (Washington, D.C.); and a performance at the White House for President and Mrs. George W. Bush.
In addition, Campanas offers numerous mariachi workshops and concerts in schools as well as participate in “Grammy in the Schools,” a program through the national Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (NARAS). Campanas will help area middle and high school mariachi musicians attempt to break a world record for the largest Mariachi ensemble on April 16 at 3 p.m.
Concert tickets are $5. To purchase tickets, contact Juan Jose Sanchez at (361) 664-2981 Ext. 3042 or by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.