Holtville students jazzed about jazz
Thomas Obeso, music director of Holtville High School, said the jazz band students are very dedicated. (LAURA GONZALEZ PHOTO)
She said she used to be really quiet, but music has helped her open up.
“Music is a form of expression. It helps you realize who you are,” said the Holtville Jazz Band trumpet player.
Last summer at band camp she was a little scared to play the trumpet, but her teacher, Thomas Obeso, encouraged her to be loud to get the fear out of her.
“He told me to play as loud as I possibly could,” she said.
Obeso is the musical director at Holtville High School and one of the reasons the jazz band exists today.
He was a long-term substitute teacher at Holtville and last year when they offered him the full-time position, he said the school was interested in starting up the band again.
“I did not start the jazz program,” Obeso said. “The school was very interested in getting it up and running again.”
The young director started his musical career here in the Valley. In high school, he was part of the Imperial High School band and he gets excited when he talks about music.
“Music is important in the same way that school as a whole is important,” he said. “It teaches you concepts, it teaches you values, it teaches you to work with other people and it gives you self-confidence.”
Music is one of the few activities that work both sides of the brain, he said. Depending on what people are doing, they mostly use either the left or the right side of the brain, but a musician needs both.
“You’ve got one side of your brain thinking analytically and you’ve got another side saying I want to do this upside down today,” Obeso said.
Brian Mendoza plays trombone for the band and said that playing music has helped him improve his grades. He got a 2090 score on his SATs and he believes that is the highest in the school right now.
He said music will always be part of his life. It may be just as a hobby, but nonetheless he is already thinking about his musical future.
“I plan on doing something with music in college either a minor or maybe a double major, be in the college marching band,” Mendoza said. “I want to go to (University of Southern California) and that’s a really good college marching band.”
Even though, the state is going through a difficult economic situation Obeso said everyone is doing the best they can to keep programs like this one in the schools.
Obeso went to Humboldt State University and spending time outside of the Valley made him realize all the efforts that people here do to keep music programs alive. He said that compared to bigger cities, the Valley is doing pretty well.
“I’d say with what we have available to us as educators and community members that we do as good as we possibly can with the resources we have,” Obeso said.
The important part is that the students get what they need. This class has a lot of discipline, he said. It played at the California Mid-Winter Fair & Fiesta earlier this month and he said that everyone wanted to be involved.
They were all there on time and they represented themselves and the school really well, he said.
“It’s a very social class, which is nice,” Obeso said. “They learned to work together.”
Music helped Carmen Santana break out of her shell. It made her happier and more outgoing, she said.
“It has given me a voice, an opportunity and a place to shine,” Santana said.
Multimedia Producer Laura Gonzalez can be reached at 760-337-3440 or email@example.com