A tuned triumph

San Benito student selected for All-Region mariachi ensemble

INFOBOX:

NAME — Yarellie Rodriguez

AGE — 13

SCHOOL — Riverside Middle School

HOBBIES — Reading and practicing the violin

By ALANA HERNANDEZ

Staff Writer

SAN BENITO — Yarellie Rodriguez, an eighth grader from Riverside Middle School, is described by her orchestra director as an excellent, well-disciplined student who is shy at times.

However, her quiet demeanor is nowhere in sight when she’s playing her violin.

Ever since Rodriguez began learning how to play the instrument in the sixth grade, she has maintained her classroom title as first chair violin.

After dedicating countless hours of practice both during and after school, she added a new recognition to her list of musical achievements in March.

Rodriguez was selected to be part of the Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA) Region 28 All-Region Mariachi ensemble after competing against many middle school and high school students from local schools in the district’s region.

According to her orchestra director, Avigái Gonzalez, Rodriguez is the district’s first middle school student to receive the honor.

“I cannot be any prouder of Yarellie. She’s like my baby,” Gonzalez said. “I started teaching her when she was in sixth grade so this is a very proud moment for me.”

Every competitor was required to learn and memorize seven mariachi music pieces.

Each musician is then asked by the judges to play specific parts of the pieces.

Depending on how well each competitor plays, the number of points they receive determines who will be accepted into the All-Region ensemble.

“Being selected makes me feel very proud,” Rodriguez said. “The day after the competition word got out and my teachers were congratulating me for making it in the competition.”

Rodriguez said she was interested in playing the violin because both classical and mariachi music can be played on it.

She admits learning how to play the violin was a bit difficult at first, but it started to become easier for her with each day of practice.

Rodriguez said she plans to continue playing the violin in high school.

Her goal is to be selected into the TMEA All-State mariachi and orchestra ensembles.

NAME — Yarellie Rodriguez

AGE — 13

SCHOOL — Riverside Middle School

HOBBIES — Reading and practicing the violin