Viva Southwest Mariachi Conference Logo

The Metropolitan State University of Denver Department of Music along with the Latino Cultural Arts Center (LCAC) welcome you back to the Auraria Campus for the 6th Viva Southwest Mariachi Conference on April 19 & 20, 2024!

Our mission is to build Colorado as a national center for Mariachi excellence by building a pipeline of talent from the community to higher education and professional careers.

We are excited to announce internationally renowned recording artists Mariachi Cobre to headline this year’s Viva Southwest Mariachi Conference and are thrilled to partner with Empowered to co-host Festival Garibaldi for a weekend celebrating Mexican music, dance, food, education, and entertainment!

Calendar of Weekend Events

Friday, April 19 – Saturday 20, 2024 | 8am-5p
2024 Viva Southwest Mariachi Conference (VSMC) PRE-REGISTRATION REQUIRED
The King Center on the Auraria Campus – 855 Lawrence Way, Denver, CO 80204
Registration Information

Friday, April 19, 2024 | 5pm-10pm
Festival Garibaldi–Free Celebration, Food Trucks, Showcase, and Mariachi Jam Session
Lawrence Street Park on the Auraria Campus – 855 Lawrence Way, Denver, CO 80204

Saturday, April 20, 2024 | 7pm-9pm
Viva Southwest Mariachi Presents Mariachi Cobre Concert
The King Center on the Auraria Campus – 855 Lawrence Way, Denver, CO 80204
Purchase Tickets

All-State Auditions, Workshops & Masterclasses

We proudly present the 6th Viva Southwest Mariachi Educational Conference for musicians of all ages and backgrounds across armonia & guitarron, trumpet, violin, and voice. Workshops will be led by Mariachi Cobre along with Master Educators across the country including Dr. Jeff Nevin and Dr. Lorenzo Trujillo, and others.

The weekend includes activities on Auraria Campus for the entire family/community, including workshops, Mariachi and dance performances, and a headlining concert with Mariachi Cobre at the King Center. This year, Viva Southwest is proud to partner with Empower to co-host Festival Garibaldi, a free community festival celebrating local Denver Mariachi and Folklorico groups. Festival-goers can enjoy over 25 performances showcasing traditional music and dance, making it a vibrant celebration of Mexican culture.

We promote the academic and professional advancement of Mariachi music through lectures, workshops and organizing the first-and-only All-State youth ensemble, Mariachi Estelares, open to high school students and undergraduates through a nomination and audition process.

Conference registration is open to school Mariachi ensembles (Grades 5-12 and undergraduate), and individual students or community members. Registrants can expect to attend daily lectures, and break out into workshops according to skill level (beginning, intermediate, or advanced) and instrument (violin, trumpet, guitarrón, armonia, voice).

School Directors have the option of registering their student ensemble for a Masterclass with Maestro Jeff Nevin for an additional fee. This option is limited to four groups on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Ensembles also have the option of performing as part of Festival Garibaldi by video audition!

NEW FREE WORKSHOP: Mariachi Educator Workshop offers invaluable insights in best methods to run a successful program. This workshop is best for teachers who wish to start a Mariachi school program or who currently have a program.

New Offering! Mariachi Educators Workshop

What You Need to Know to Start and Implement a Mariachi Program in the Schools
Saturday, April 20 from 9:00 am – 1:00 pm

This workshop is intended for public school teachers who wish to start a Mariachi program in the schools or who currently have a program. We will involve current Mariachi school teachers to discuss best methods and materials. The goal is to gain an understanding of successful program delivery. Taught by Dr. Lorenzo A. Trujillo & local Mariachi Educators.

You do not have to attend the Viva Southwest Mariachi Conference in order to attend the Mariachi Educators Workshop.

Registration Details Below

Limited to 50 Participants


April 19, 2024

8:00 – 9:00 am: Student check-in
9:00 – 10:00 am: Opening General Session
10:30 – 12:30 pm: Session One Breakouts
12:30 – 1:30 pm: Lunch
1:30 – 3:30 pm: Session Two Breakouts
3:30 – 5:00 pm: General Session
5:00 – 8:00 pm: Festival Garibaldi Showcase Presentations of Mariachi and Folkloric Dance (free community event)
8:00 – 11:00 pm: Festival Garibaldi Open Jam Session (free community event)

April 20, 2024

9:00 – 10:00 am: General Session
9:00 – 1:00 pm: Mariachi Educators Workshop (free, for public school teachers only)
10:30 – 12:30 pm: Session Three Breakouts
12:30 – 1:30 pm: Lunch
1:30 – 3:30 pm: Session Four Breakouts
3:30 – 5:00 pm: General Session
7:00 – 9:30 pm: Concert by Mariachi Cobre (separate ticketed event)

Registration Information

Registration Details

UPDATE 4/10/24: Registration has reached maximum capacity and is now closed.

Date: April 19-20, 2024
Location: The Auraria Campus in Denver, CO
Early Bird Registration Fee before March 15: $45 per student or individual
Registration Fee after March 15: $55 per student or individual
Mariachi Educator Workshop Registration Fee: FREE, limited to 50 participants
Masterclass with Jeff Nevin (optional, limited to 4 groups): $250
Director’s Complete Musical Score (optional): $75

The registration fee includes participant lunch and a digital file of the music for both days. Note: Printed music and educational content will not be provided at the conference. A digital file of the music and workshop materials will be distributed prior to the conference by Dr. Lorenzo A. Trujillo to the registered participants, and it will be their responsibility to print materials for their students and/or themselves to have ready for the conference.

If you are unable to pay via credit card, please contact Kimberly Wendt at [email protected] prior to registering.

If you have already filled out a registration but have not paid, you may submit a credit card payment to the MSU Denver Cashnet site.

Registration has now closed.

Dr. Jeff Nevin

Lead Maestro, Masterclass Instructor

Jeff Nevin headshotJeff Nevin, Ph. D., works professionally as a classical trumpet player, mariachi trumpeter and soloist, and a conductor specializing in the interpretation of Mexican music. Currently he works as Professor of Music and Director of Mariachi Activities at Southwestern College in Chula Vista, CA, where he devised and is now offering the world’s first college degree in mariachi music. He is a founding member of the Mariachi Scholarship Foundation that has awarded $500,000 to students pursuing careers in music. Dr. Nevin founded the San Diego International Mariachi Summit which brings together top musicians, dancers, teachers, historians and historical figures to promote mariachi music and education. Classrooms across the United States and Mexico use his book, “Mariachi Master,” to help mariachi students become better musicians.

Dr. Lorenzo A. Trujillo

Lead Maestro

Lorenzo Trujillo headshotLorenzo A. Trujillo, Ed.D., J.D. grew up in Denver and spent many summers in Arroyo Seco, New Mexico (eight miles outside of Taos) with his extended family.  He was highly influenced by his aunt, Eva Nuánez, as a vocalist, guitarist, and violinist.  He also engaged his energies in ethnic dance and collaborated with his mother, Marie Orália Durán Trujillo, in the formation of the Southwest Dancers in the early 1970’s.  He taught Mexican Folkdance and Flamenco at the Sangre De Cristo Arts Center in Pueblo, Colorado, the University of Colorado at Boulder and Denver, and at San Francisco State University.  He is the Director of the Mariachi Program at Metropolitan State University in Denver (see Facebook page and webpage

For over two decades, he was a member of the Mariachi Alegre de San Cayetano where he played violin and sang.  As a musician, dancer, and culture bearer, Lorenzo was awarded the Colorado Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts.  He was inducted into the Colorado Chicano Music Hall of Fame and has served on the National Endowment for the Arts as a performing artist, grants panelist, and arts program evaluator.  He was also named a Colorado Folk Artist and Master Teacher by the Colorado Council on the Arts through the Master/Apprentice Program and in 2012 was awarded the Tesoro de Oro by the Tesoro Cultural Center.

Lorenzo formed the Southwest Musicians in the late 1980’s, recording several musical standards that are part of a vast repertoire of regional social dances and popular Mexican music of the early and mid-twentieth century.  Among his recordings are: Musical Traditions of Colorado and New Mexico (Southwest Musicians); Con Cariño (Mariachi Alegre); A Musical Banquet: From Santa Fe to Denver (with E.J. Rodriguez), and, The Golden Age of the Southwest: From 1840 to Hollywood. He has toured in Ireland, Peru and Italy, presenting traditional music, liturgical and classical repertoire.

In his noted publication, Music of Colorado and New Mexico’s Río Grande, in Enduring Legacies: Ethnic Histories and Culture of Colorado, University of Colorado Press, Lorenzo highlights the history of the Casorio and Entriega wedding traditions celebrated throughout the Upper Río Grande Region of Southern Colorado and Northern New Mexico of the 1840’s.  He holds a Doctorate in Education and Juris Doctorate Degrees (Ed.D., J.D.) and served as Assistant Dean and Professor at the University of Colorado School of Law.

Currently, he is the Director of the Mariachi Program at Metropolitan State University of Denver, the President of Hilos Culturales, a non-profit organization that preserves, promotes, and presents Hispanic traditions from the 1840’s of Colorado and New Mexico.  He serves as the Director of, Nuestras Raices: Música Mariachi Rocky Ridge Music, Vice Chairman, Tesoro Cultural Center, Director, Viva Southwest Mariachi Festival Workshop & Showcase, Director, Latino Cultural Arts Center Mariachi Program,  Director, Southwest Musicians, and Trustee, Colorado Symphony.

Mariachi Cobre

Mariachi Maestros

Mariachi Cobre - 12 members of mariachi group standing in a line and holding their hats in front Mariachi Cobre, founded in 1971, is celebrating its 51st anniversary as a musical ensemble. For 39 years they have been the Mariachi ambassador to the world performing for millions of visitors at Epcot Center, Disney World in Orlando, Florida since 1982. Originally based in Tucson, Arizona, the group was formed by Randy Carrillo, a veteran of the first Mariachi youth group in the U.S., Mariachi Juvenil Los Changuitos Feos De Tucson.

The group has accompanied a wide range of Mariachi and non-Mariachi artists including Linda Ronstadt, Lucha Villa, Lola Beltran, Ana Gabriel, Guadalupe Pineda, Julio Iglesias, and Vikki Carr. They have performed with nearly 50 symphony orchestras across the U. S. and Mexico.

Alfredo Reyes

LCAC Executive Director, Co-Director of Viva Southwest

Alfredo Reyes headshotAlfredo Reyes was born and raised in the westside of Denver to Mexican parents, Aurora and Juventino. He is the first Executive Director of the Latino Cultural Arts Center (LCAC) and Co-Chair of the Commission of Cultural Affairs for Denver’s Arts and Venues. In the last three years, he’s leveraged over $5 million towards the construction of the LCAC’s Cultural Campus and over $800,000 towards programs and operations.

After graduating from Denver South High, he earned a Gates Millennium Scholarship to continue his studies at Colorado College, where he received a BA in Political Science and studied abroad in Spain, Italy, and Chile. Alfredo continued his studies at CU Boulder, where he received an MA in Educational Foundations, Policy, and Practice, studying in Cuba, along with spending three years in a PhD program at UC Santa Cruz.

He brings vision and creativity along with the pragmatism needed to translate projects into reality. Alfredo’s expertise ranges from education research to decolonial methodologies, youth and community development, program design and implementation, along with fund development and real estate activation.

Viva Southwest Mariachi Festival in Fall

Viva Southwest Mariachi Festival Logo

Levitt Pavilion at night with mariachi group on stage
The Viva Southwest Mariachi Festival on September 25, 2022. Photo: Eric Einstein

As part-two of Viva Southwest, the Latino Cultural Arts Center and MSU Denver Department of Music present a special evening of Mariachi. The Viva Southwest Mariachi Festival takes place during the Fall and features a sensational lineup that includes a headliner and a special performance by Mariachi Estelares de Colorado, Colorado’s All-State Youth Mariachi Ensemble.

Students grades 9-12 and undergraduate are invited to audition for 2024’s Mariachi Estelares de Colorado for the opportunity to perform at the Viva Southwest Mariachi Festival. Video auditions are being accepted until March 15, 2024. Selected participants will be announced at the Viva Southwest Mariachi Conference in April.

Note to Mariachi Directors: 
If you would like to recommend a candidate to audition in-person at the conference, please email Dr. Lorenzo A. Trujillo ([email protected]) in advance of the conference to arrange a time for the audition.


King Center on the Auraria Campus

855 Lawrence Way
Denver, CO 80204

Google Map

Lorenzo Trujillo playing violin


Dr. Lorenzo Trujillo

Director of Mariachi Ensemble
[email protected]