Two jazz band students in the Socorro Independent School District earned top honors recently for their outstanding performances and their overall excellence as musicians.
Sebastian Ortega, a senior at Americas High School, won the Dave Koz scholarship provided by the El Paso Community Foundation. He was selected for his talent and dedication to jazz, his outstanding performance on saxophone, clarinet and piano, and his academic standing.
“Everyone here at Americas has been so helpful, so I am really thankful to them for all the support they’ve given me throughout my four years,” Ortega said. “Since all the way back to middle school, my teacher Ms. Lynch would encourage me. She would tell me I had what it takes and to pursue my passions.”
Ortega will have the opportunity to meet renowned jazz musician Dave Koz and be recognized on stage at the upcoming Dave Koz Christmas concert at the Plaza Theater.
Pebble Hills High School junior and baritone saxophone player Juan Lara earned a prestigious spot on the Texas All-State Jazz Ensemble. He was one of hundreds of students statewide who auditioned for the ensemble.
Lara earned first place regionally and second place in the statewide audition. He said the honor is a result of continuous hard work, which he has strived for over several years.
“Making the state ensemble is a goal I’ve had since starting high school,” Lara said.
He will play with the All-State Jazz Ensemble at a concert at the Texas Music Educators Association conference in February in San Antonio.