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Please contact Chrystie Prokopakis at 707.800.7504 or

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Please contact Robin Seltzer at 707.800.7525 or

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Redwood Credit Union presents • presentar
LBC’s 12th Annual • 12a Anual

Fiesta de Independencia Virtual
Featuring Mariachi Vargas

Watch online September 12 at 2pm

Generously sponsored by ∙ Patrocinado generosamente por

Viewing is free! • ¡Ver es gratis!

Luther Burbank Center for the Arts (LBC) celebrates the 12th annual Fiesta de Independencia on Sunday, September 12 from 2:00 – 3:00PM. Organized by the Center’s Latino Advisory Council, this one-hour, FREE event on September 12th will include performances by Danza Azteca Xantotl, Ballet Folklórico Ireri, LBC’s own mariachi ensemble: Mariachi Cantares de mi Tierra, and a special headline performance by Mariachi Vargas De Tecalitlán. LBC is also proud that the Mexican Consulate of San Francisco will continue to participate in El Grito, a moving re-enactment of the history-making Cry of Dolores.

“We are proud to work with members of the LBC Latino Advisory Council (LAC) and our partners at Redwood Credit Union to provide this celebration of culture for the 12th year in a row. We invite every member of our community, regardless of background, to join us in honoring and uplifting the vivid texture of our community fabric. Fiesta de Independencia is a way to commemorate both individual and collective heritage,” states Ashleigh Worley, Director of Education and Community Engagement.

Long-time member of LAC and LBC Honorary Board Member, Ernesto Olivares reflects, “For many years, the Fiesta has brought people together to recognize and honor the rich culture of our community’s residents.  While 2020 was a very difficult year, today there is much to celebrate as we continue to recover and heal—the fiesta is the perfect place for this.  I invite everyone to join us as we celebrate our histories and cultures through the universal language music, food, and art.”

Fiesta de Independencia began at the Center in 2010 to commemorate Mexican Independence Day (September 16) and has since evolved to celebrate the rich history of the diverse Latino cultures and people who are an integral part of the North Bay community. In past years, drawing more than 4,000 community members, the event has become a Sonoma County tradition, serving as a kickoff to Latino Heritage month, which runs September 15th-October 15th.  The Fiesta is a community-wide celebration of cultures, people, and traditions that also educates the community about Hispanic history and Latino businesses in Sonoma County. In 2020, the LBC made the decision to continue the tradition virtually to huge success.

This year, in an abundance of caution as the event draws huge crowds and is family-focused, LBC has decided to keep the celebration virtual for one more year; however, they are thrilled to be able to offer the amazing talent of Vargas. Worley states, “We are honored to have Mariachi Vargas De Tecalitlán perform at our 12th annual Fiesta de Independencia. This is only possible to have Vargas because it will be a virtual event, in any other year, this would not be possible. We’re thrilled to be able to bring the talents of Mariachi Vargas De Tecalitlán right into the homes of viewers!”

The LBC will be streaming Fiesta de Independencia on their website, premiering on Sept 12th at 2pm and will continue to be available for viewing thereafter. Along with Fiesta, the LBC will be featuring virtual events all-month long to celebrate Latino Heritage month. Check out LBC’s Facebook page for additional information, performances, and videos before and after the event.

Fiesta de Independencia is generously sponsored by the Redwood Credit Union.

For more than half a century the name Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán has been synonymous with greatness. Founded in 1897 by Gaspar Vargas, the group originated in the Jalisco city of Tecalitlán as a musical quartet not yet imagining the worldwide influence they would have in Mexican music history. By the 1930’s the group grew to eight musicians and relocated to Mexico City under the leadership of Gaspar’s son Silvestre Vargas. After playing for the inauguration of President Lázaro Cárdenas in 1934, Vargas’ celebrated national presence and success skyrocketed.

Under Silvestre’s visionary leadership and the incomparable musical direction of Ruben Fuentes, Mariachi Vargas went on to work with some of the most celebrated singer and composers such as José Alfredo Jimenez, Lola Beltrán, Pedro Infante and also appeared in over 200 films during the Golden Age of Mexican Cinema.  By the 1950’s Mariachi Vargas had earned the title of “el mejor mariachi del mundo”, a title that has endured through the ages and earned them tremendous musical respect.

Throughout the latter part of the 20th century Mariachi Vargas continued to grow under the direction of José “Pepe” Martínez who continued to modernize the genre with meticulously crafted arrangements, highly qualified musicians and musical gusto unmatched by any other group. In 1987, Mariachi Vargas went on to assist in the recording of  Linda Rondstadt’s Grammy award winning album Canciones de Mi Padre, and later went on to tour with Linda. The Canciones de Mi Padre tour opened the door to the American audience and would further influence and define the mariachi genre throughout the world.

In 2014 the musical direction of Mariachi Vargas passed from Pepe Martinez to his nephew Carlos Martinez. Now in their sixth generation, the 14-piece ensemble continues to defy boundaries and enthrall audiences with their performances under Carlos’ direction. Most recently Vargas backed up the iconic singer Luis Miguel on his ¡México Por Siempre! Albu and went on to internationally tour with him throughout México, the United States, Canada and Spain. They also headlined the tour 200 Años de Música Mexicana alongside Banda El Recodo. Their most recent album, Concierto Sinfónico de Aniversario, is Mariachi Vargas’ first ever studio produced alongside a symphony and includes classics from José Alfredo Jimenez, Bésame Mucho, and a heartwarming rendition of the West Side Story classic song Maria in both English and Spanish.

Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán continues to defy what mariachi is and uphold their reputation as “El Mejor Mariachi del Mundo”– the greatest mariachi in the world.

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