Local student makes All-State jazz ensemble

HARLINGEN – He was speechless.

Jacob Moreno was in class when he learned he’d been selected as a Texas All-State Musician by the Texas Music Educators Association.

“I literally didn’t talk the entire period,” said Jacob, a senior trumpet player at Harlingen High School.

“I didn’t know how to react,” said Jacob, 17. “I was just in shock. I didn’t know how to feel and then once I finally got home and I told my parents, that’s when I was like ‘Wow, I’m officially an all-stater.’”

All-State performances will be held as part of the annual TMEA Clinic/Convention in mid-February in San Antonio. Jacob will perform with the Texas All-State Jazz Ensemble 2 on Feb. 15.

Jacob has worked for years to achieve this dream, having first picked up the trumpet in the sixth grade.

“I just had that sort of feeling when you connect with something or you’re destined to do something,” he said.

His affirmation of this commitment increased over the years, prompting him in his freshman year to aim high for the all-state distinction.

“It’s a lot of hard work and dedication that you have to put into it,” he said. “Just to finally reach that goal, it’s something that I can’t describe.”

The adage about “practice makes perfect” he seems to have taken to heart, approaching his practice regimen with an almost fanatical fervor.

“As soon as we got the audition music for all state, every day after school you would see me in the band hall working on my etudes,” he said. “When I was home, I had to practice when nobody else would.”

He would sometimes get up in the middle of the night to practice, which didn’t always go over too well with others in the house.

“My parents were so annoyed by it,” he said with a laugh. “I really do love it, it’s a passion of mine.”

He plays both classical and jazz style, but he prefers the freedom of jazz.

“The challenging part, it’s mainly just the interpretation of how the music is supposed to be played,” he said. “The classical side of music, they tell you how each note is supposed to be played, and how soft or how loud to play.”

Jazz is a whole other story.

“With jazz, it’s basically coming from you and how you think it should be played,” he said. “That’s the most difficult part about playing jazz. I feel like with jazz you can really express yourself.”

He’s looking forward to the concert in February.

“I’m just so excited for getting to be surrounded by all these talented people that have the same dedication that I do and the team effort is really going to be amazing,” he said.

It’s not surprising that he plans to continue his musical studies beyond high school. He plans to attend Texas A&M University – Kingsville and study music education.

“I want to give back to the people that helped teach me,” he said. “I’d like to teach the next all-staters.”

Did you know?

– Over 70,000 students initially enter the All-State competitive process.

– 1,780 students are selected to perform in 15 All-State ensembles (bands, orchestras, and choirs).

– All-State performances will be held as part of the annual TMEA Clinic/Convention, Feb. 12–15, 2020.

– Over 29,000 people from Texas and around the world will attend over 280 workshops, 100 performances, and visit over 1,300 exhibit booths at this nation’s largest music educators convention.