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Texas State's Celeste Curiel wins top award at mariachi competition

Posted by Jayme Blaschke
University News Service
January 5, 2010

Celeste Curiel, a student in the Texas State University-San Marcos School of Music, 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 41finalists from Texas, California, Harvard University and the Berklee School of Music.

Celeste Curiel receives award.

Texas State student Celeste Curiel (second from right) accepts her award from Mariachi Vargas members Jose "Pepe" Martinez, Jr., Alberto Alfaro and Andres Gonzalez.

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.