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UTPA-LogoThe University of Texas-Pan American's Mariachi Aztlán headed to Washington, D.C. this week to perform at the 2012 Smithsonian Institution’s Folklife Festival in Washington, D.C. The 16-member group has been scheduled to perform outdoors on the National Mall, between the Smithsonian museums, twice daily June 27-July 1 and July 4-8.

UTPA was among 21 universities chosen out of more than 100 grant applications for the coveted performance spot in the Smithsonian’s commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the founding of land-grant universities and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The fair takes place for two weeks every summer overlapping the Fourth of July holiday. Free to the public, like other Smithsonian museums, the festival typically draws more than one million visitors yearly.

Dominga Garza, a senior music major and four-year member of the group, said the group has been working long hours to prepare for the Smithsonian celebration, and calls it a great honor.

“We are so excited to be going and I think we have proven ourselves. We have been practicing a lot for this and we are ready,” Garza said. “Hopefully we will inspire a lot of people and give people a lot of knowledge about mariachi and our music.”

The student musicians will also be headlining a special performance at the Festival on June 29 on the Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center.

In the past two years the award-winning group has performed in the White House for President Obama, captured the top prize at the Houston Rodeo Mariachi Invitational Competition, performed the first mariachi opera with the Houston Grand Opera and played for a crowd of 74,000 people at the Reliant Center in Houston on Tejano Day.

Anyone interested in supporting Mariachi Aztlán or the music department may contact the Office of Development at 665-5301.

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