Mariachi Juvenil de San Diego 

     Jonathan Clark, a California native, first heard mariachi music as a college student in the mid-1970’s; it became his passion.  He began his lifelong study of that genre.  In 1977, he moved to Mexico City.  He was befriended and mentored by members of Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán. For the next 12 years he played guitarrón with the mariachis around Plaza Garibaldi.  After meeting Silvestre Vargas, founder of Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán, in 1979, he embarked on a journey to learn as much history and tradition he could about mariachi music.  In 1991 Clark returned to California and began to share his knowledge about mariachi music.  He did this by giving lectures and writing articles.  To continue sharing his knowledge of mariachi music he founded and directed the San José State University Mariachi Workshop. Later, he directed the mariachi program at Stanford University.  In 1997, he co-founded Mexico’s first mariachi museum, El Museo Silvestre Vargas, in Tecalitlán, Jalisco. In 2013 Clark received the Presea Vicente T. Mendoza award, the highest one the Mexican government presents for documentation and analysis of traditional Mexican Music.

Serafin Paredes - Founder 

Conference update/  Actualización de la conferencia 

Emails with Zoom information and music has been sent to the email you registered with. If you have not received it please check your spam folder, or email us so we can resend the information.

Ya se a mandado un correo con la information  para Zoom y con la música para la conferencia mañana.  Si no lo has recibido, favor de revisar tu carpeta de correo no deseado o mándanos un correo electrónico a

Rigoberto Alfaro - Special Guest 

Jonathan Clark - Mariachi Historian 

     It is my pleasure to welcome you to our 9th annual University of San Diego Mariachi Conference.  This year our conference looks different but we are committed to having knowledgeable musicians teach at our event.  These instructors will be teaching technique, style, and the music for this conference. 

Get to know our special guest Rigoberto Alfaro and all of the other instructors. Their biographies are arranged according to the level they will be teaching.  
I would also like to invite you to participate in out virtual concert by submitting a video of you playing the song you learned in your class (More information to come).

Thank you, and I hope you enjoy our virtual conference.   

Serafin Paredes 

     Rigoberto Alfaro was born in Yurécuaro, Michoacán. Born into a musical family, at a young age, he began his musical career as a guitar player in his father’s group.  

In 1958, he joined Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán, “the greatest Mariachi in the world”.  Throughout 13 years, Alfaro was a member of Mariachi Vargas, he and three other members created what was known as the world’s greatest mariachi rhythm section.  During their reign, they introduced countless innovations and redefined mariachi music. 

After 3 years of playing with Mariachi Vargas, he started to compose and arrange music. In the 1960’s, his arrangements were becoming well known. Then in 1970, he decided to leave Mariachi Vargas and dedicate his life to arranging and composing.  “El Rey”, “La Bikina”, “Me Caí de la Nube”, “De Qué Manera Te Olvido” and “Por Tu Maldito Amor” are some of his most popular arrangements today.  Rigoberto Alfaro has changed and helped create the music that we know today as “mariachi”. 

David Harnish - USD chair of music depart

Welcome to the 2021 Mariachi Conference! It is our privilege in the USD Music Department to help present this fine annual event, even under the current circumstances imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic. We are proud to feature one of the only Mariachi Ensembles in higher education in California and to co-sponsor the event in the state that brings together so many fine Mariachi Ensembles. The Conference is all about education: Teaching students about the ensemble, the techniques for mastery of style, how to play and find a voice within a group, how to blend, how to develop leadership skills, and how to respect the rich and living tradition of mariachi. My deep thanks go to Serafin Paredes, the founder of the Conference and the USD Mariachi Ensemble and program director. 

Please enjoy the reduced show this year and best wishes to all!

David Harnish
Chair, Music Department
University of San Diego