It all started with the flute for Martín Acosta and Rachel Hawkes, standout members of the Turlock High School Band.
Acosta and Hawkes recently performed in the All-Northern California Honor Band, a competitive and audition only band that serves students from Bakersfield to the Oregon border. Acosta plays the clarinet and Hawkes plays the oboe, but rewind a few years and both students were trying their hand at another instrument altogether — the flute. Switching to an instrument that they enjoyed more contributed to their above average performance in band as high school students. Both began their musical journey in fifth grade, which is the usual age at which orchestra and band is introduced to students.
“I decided to first join band for fun and once I switched to the clarinet, I realized I wasn’t going to get anywhere unless I improved, which is when I started taking private lessons from Rachel’s mom,” said Acosta, a sophomore at THS.
Private lessons, as well as a personal passion for music that left him “listening to music for hours on a daily basis,” and being accepted into the All-Northern California Honor Band provided Acosta the environment of aspiring musicians that he craved.
Hawkes had exposure early on in life as both of her parents are musicians, but developed her interest in the oboe through her experience in the music scene at school.
“The summer going into my sophomore year of high school I also had my first professional job as a musician playing for a Modesto Performing Arts production, which was an incredible experience,” said Hawkes, a senior at THS.
The students’ recent performance is not their first time playing among the best as Acosta played in the honor band his freshman year and Hawkes played with the honor band her junior year. The ability to cultivate their musical interests has resulted in both students interested in pursuing music in college. Next year, Hawkes intends to major in music education and music performance while Acosta will satisfy his passion in a performance at Carnegie Hall in New York City this summer with the Modesto Symphony Orchestra Youth Division.
“I think we’re both really happy and proud to have played with some of the best high school musicians. It was definitely an experience to remember,” said Hawkes.