National mariachi finalist named; This UH-Downtown senior to represent Houston in vocal contest

"Los Caimanes" Vocalist Jimmy Arredondo prepares for Saturday's 26th Annual Mariachi Vargas National Vocal Competition. (Jose Vasquez/Instagram)

HOUSTON – A University of Houston-Downtown student has earned a spot in the finals for a mariachi vocal contest.

Senior Jimmy Arredondo, who is one of the vocalists on UHD’s mariachi group “Los Caimanes” (Spanish for “The Gators”), will be the only Houstonian to compete in the 26th Annual Mariachi Vargas National Vocal Competition, the largest and long-running mariachi festival in the nation, taking place this Saturday virtually. Arredondo is one of the 10 finalists in the college/university division, according to a news release from the university.

Arredondo submitted a production from his idol and four-time Latin Grammy winner and mariachi singer Pedro Fernandez “El Aventurero” (The Adventurer). The performance was posted on the program’s Instagram account.

“Los Caimanes” Jose Vasquez, Director and UHD’s Associate Director of Student Activities, told KPRC 2 he is excited for Arredondo and his achievements so far with the program. He also said had the pleasure to coach him in the past year.

“His work ethnic, sheer determination and resilience has got him this far,” Vasquez told KPRC 2. “He always seeks out ways to improve himself and is one of the few students who asks for constructive criticism.”

According to UHD’s student newspaper “The Dateline,” Arredondo was involved with mariachi since at an early age, having to find a program outside of his school. Since having to practice on his own at home, he said in the release the path towards the finals came “in full circle” for him.

“It’s mind blowing. I remember where I came from, and now I’m representing UHD at the highest level,” Arredondo said.

The 26th Annual Mariachi Vargas National Vocal Contest will stream on YouTube this Saturday at 7 p.m.

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