If you happened to be at the people’s house on Wednesday, Aug. 30, you might have stumbled upon Utah’s first state-sponsored mariachi competition. The rotunda of the Utah State Capitol echoed with string and brass instruments playing classic mariachi songs, like “Guadalajara.”
With the staid marble walls as a backdrop, professional musicians in outfits with vibrant colors, like red and blue, and intricate details, took the stage in front of a packed crowd.
Claudia Loayza, who works for Utah Division of Multicultural Affairs and helped plan the event, said the Consulate of Mexico in Salt Lake City and the state started working to put this event together after employees from the consulate’s office and state employees watched “Going Varsity in Mariachi” at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival.
Karlysue Pereyra, a third-generation mariachi, performed at the competition with her group Karlysue y Trio Los Charros, which was formed in Utah in 2016. They took second place.
“We are finally able to do an event like this,” Pereyra said. “Five, six, eight years ago, maybe we wouldn’t have been able to.”