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High school senior honored with state title for talent in jazz music

A Montwood High School senior was once again recognized by the state for his musical talent.

For the fourth year in a row, Guillermo Lopez was named an All-State Musician by the Texas Music Educators Association. He was selected as first chair bass guitar in the All-State Jazz Band.

“I was just very, very excited,” Lopez said.

Lopez found out during a performance with the El Paso Youth Jazz Ensemble, a group that brings together some of the top jazz musicians in the city to perform.

His love for music started when he was in middle school playing the tuba, an instrument he still plays. In fact, Lopez qualified for the All-Region band with the tuba this season.

Interest in the bass guitar and the drums is what got him to join the jazz ensemble as a sixth grader in middle school and it quickly turned into a passion.

“It’s something about the improvisational nature of jazz and how it really is a communal-type activity, which really involves all the musicians listening to each other and communicating with each other,” Lopez said.

The Socorro Independent School District said Lopez was selected through a rigorous process that included a regional, area and state competition. He beat out more than 30 contestants to become the highest-ranking jazz bass musician.

“He can just look at a piece of music and he understands how to play it very quick,” said Beto Perez, Montwood band director.

Perez said he wasn’t surprised the senior racked up the all-state award for the fourth year in a row.

“He’s just a great influence on his peers,” Perez said.

Lopez said he will continue to pursue jazz music after high school and is planning to attend the University of North Texas.

“I hope my talent takes me to where I can perform with the best musicians that exist today,” Lopez said.

Lopez will be recognized at the annual state TMEA convention on February 17 in San Antonio, where he will perform in front of thousands of event attendees.

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