16 Socorro ISD music students earn prestigious All-State honors

Socorro ISD announced this week that another slate of their students excelled in the 2020-2021 Texas Music Education Association All-State auditions winning the highly coveted all-state recognition in choir, band, mariachi, orchestra, and jazz.

“We are extremely proud of our Team SISD All-Staters and their accomplishments,” said SISD Fine Arts Director Armando Martinez. “This is the pinnacle of accomplishments as a high school musician and these amazing scholars are part of the top 2 percent of all musicians in the state of Texas. Through this pandemic, these students have persevered and through their determination were able to achieve at the highest level.”

SISD had 16 TMEA All-State musicians – five choir, the most of any district in El Paso; six band; two mariachi; two orchestra; and one jazz – with three more state winners this year over the previous school year.

More than 50,000 students from across Texas entered the TMEA audition process. These 16 SISD students were among the 1,860 students selected in the final round for the state ensembles for choir, band, mariachi, orchestra and jazz band.

TMEA sponsors the Texas All-State audition process to promote students’ dedication to their musical knowledge and skill and to encourage educators to support their students in this development, according to the TMEA press release. All-State is the highest honor a Texas music student can receive.

Normally, the musicians would perform at the annual TMEA state conference in San Antonio. However, due to the pandemic and to keep communities safe, TMEA will not host a 2021 live performance event.

Still, The SISD all-state musicians students were thankful for their hard work being recognized at the state level, especially after enduring a year of unprecedented changes.

“I had already pretty much experienced what all-state was supposed to be and coming into it this year, with the pandemic and everything, I didn’t really know what to expect, but I knew that I was going to work just as hard as the year prior because I wanted to go back despite what it was going to look like,” said two-time all-stater Angel Miramontes, a senior and clarinet player at Pebble Hills High School. “The results were exactly what I wanted, so I am happy.”

For others, it was a last chance and a great triumph. Montwood High School senior Leelah Palacios made it to state for the first time.

“It’s been an honor to represent my district,” said Palacios, who plays the E-flat clarinet. “This just feels like a big accomplishment, like I’m representing my school, the district, what my band directors taught me, and my hopes and their hopes.”

Ariah Labrado is a senior at Eastlake High School, soprano 1 singer and her choir’s vice president. She was proud of her achievement of earning first chair in the All-State mixed choir.

“It feels really cool to be in the highest chair being from El Paso, which is usually somewhere that doesn’t get a lot of attention,” Labrado said.

The students were not the only ones experiencing pride for their accomplishments at state. Their directors were just as ecstatic.

Mariachi instructor at Socorro High School Roger Rosales was especially proud of sisters Jennifer and Jocelyn Betancourt, both violinists who earned the all-state status.

“These two sisters have been in my mariachi program since 6th and 7th grade,” Rosales said. “Of course, I am very proud of them for reaching the highest recognition at the state level, as you know competing and winning at the state category is not easy at all, but due to these sisters working really hard we achieved such an amazing result.”

Rosales also said that he was proud of all his students for their hard work and determination with working online through the COVID-19 pandemic, which was a huge challenge for everyone, but they worked past it and came out triumphant.

2020-21 TMEA All-State Musicians from Socorro ISD

Angel Miramontes, Pebble Hills High School – Eb Clarinet
Israel Vasquez, Pebble Hills High School – Percussion
Javier Marquez, Pebble Hills High School – Flute
Leelah Palacios, Montwood High School – Eb Clarinet
Micah Carrasco, El Dorado High School – Tuba
Osvaldo Rubio, Pebble Hills High School – Piccolo

Angela Garcia, Americas High School – Alto
Ariah Labrado, Eastlake High School – Soprano
Daphne Serna, El Dorado High School – Alto
Esperanza Herrera, Eastlake High School – Soprano
Raul Romero, Pebble Hills High School – Bass

Jennifer Betancourt, Socorro High School – Violin
Jocelyn Betancourt, Socorro High School – Viloin

Ricardo Chacon, Americas High School – Cello
Sahid Palacios, El Dorado High School – Violin

Santana Rojas, Pebble Hills High School – Trumpet

Photo courtesy SISD