Photo submitted by Luis Cortez

Playing towards his future

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For the past three years, seven hours a week, freshman Luis Cortez has been practicing the tenor trombone. Last year, Cortez worked for a chance to be one of two trombonists to play in the NYO2 program. His dedication paid off, as over the summer, Cortez was selected out of hundreds of applicants. This program was founded by Carnegie Hall and is the 14-17 year-old version of the National Youth Orchestra of the United States. “I didn’t know about these programs until this last year, but I always knew I wanted to get into a program like this. I just didn’t know when the opportunity would come up.” Cortez said.

Cortez is an experienced trombonist, and his time with the NYO2 means that he is one of the best trombonists in the state, and possibly the country, for his age group. 

Cortez, far right, playing with the NYO2 program over the summer.

“I try not to look at it that way. I really looked at it as the fact that I got to work with people that love orchestral music as much as I do,” Cortez said. This summer, he traveled to the northeast to perform. “

I spent two weeks intensively working with the Philadelphia orchestra and Orchestral Maestro Giancarlo Guerrero working on our rigorous repertoire. The third and final week we performed at Verizon Hall in Philadelphia and in Carnegie Hall in New York,” Cortez said.

Cortez has also received other prestigious awards. He was selected for Florida All State Band and Broward County Honor Band last year. All State and All County are “honor bands,” meaning that student musician audition to be a part of it. As the name implies, All State is a statewide competition with over a hundred auditioners. If an auditioner is one of the best, then he or she is invited to play in Tampa at the Florida Music Education Association Conference. Cortez has high goals for his future, and is on the right track to achieve them. “I want orchestra playing to be my job. I hope to work in a big orchestra like the Philadelphia Orchestra or New York Philharmonic in the future,” Cortez said.

As a sophomore, Kayla spends her second year on staff as Assistant Online Editor in Chief and Business Manager of iPatriot Post and the Patriot Post, respectively. Her world consists of reading as many books as she can get her hands on, binge watching Grey’s Anatomy, Supernatural and anything Marvel, sleeping in until noon during the summer and on weekends, baking until no more counter space in her kitchen exists and writing for her favorite news outlet, the Patriot Post.

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