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Mariachi Nuevo Capistrano won first place after first year competing in the Mission’s annual event

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By Allison Jarrell

The 12th annual Battle of the Mariachis Festival took place at Mission San Juan Capistrano on May 14, with about 3,400 guests in attendance to enjoy an array of mariachi music, local food vendors and performances by Ballet Folklorico de San Juan Capistrano.

This year was the first time competing for local group Mariachi Nuevo Capistrano, and they took home not one, but two prizes—the Spirit of San Juan Capistrano Community Award and first place in the open category. Directed by Alberto Gonzalez, Mariachi Nuevo Capistrano formed eight months ago in San Juan Capistrano, with members ranging in age from high school to college students. Their group started out with five members initially, and has since grown to 13 musicians.

“We have a great violinist who isn’t Hispanic, but was intrigued in playing our style of music and is now going to compete with us,” the musicians said in a statement. “We are proud to know that by playing music, we are making an impact on people and bringing them together.”

Following is the list of winners from the event:

People’s Choice Award (voting conducted online) – Mariachi Los Santos
Spirit of San Juan Capistrano Community Award (Youth Category) – Mariachi Corazon de Tucson
Spirit of San Juan Capistrano Community Award (Open Category) – Mariachi Nuevo Capistrano
1st Place (Youth Category, $1,500) – Mariachi Corazon de Tucson
2nd Place (Youth Category, $1,000) – Sinfonia Mexicana Mariachi Youth Academy
1st Place (Open Category, $1,500) – Mariachi Nuevo Capistrano
2nd Place (Open Category, $1,000) – Mariachi de Uclatlán

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