Three undergraduate and seven graduate students from The University of New Mexico Department of Music were recently chosen to perform in the Southwestern Regional Intercollegiate Band in Kansas City. The 10 musicians who went to Kansas City are students of UNM band director Emily Moss.

UNM Day at the Legislature 2024 band
Saxophone players Daniel Slencsak, Alejandro Alva, Parker Head and Taylor Gilman, UNM Day at the Legislature 2024

The students who attended performed in a 75-person wind band with other college students from the southwest region states, including New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, and Colorado, at the College Band Directors National Association biannual regional conference at UMKC Conservatory of Music.

“Our students did an exceptional job representing UNM in this Intercollegiate Honor Band. They performed at an extremely high level and gained valuable experience in performing with different players, acoustical environments, and a new conductor,” Moss said.

The undergrads who attended were Jon Bull on the euphonium and Parker Head playing baritone saxophone. Natalie Whitby, who plays bassoon, was also selected.

“I feel honored to be selected for the opportunity to travel and play across the country,” Bull said. “I'm glad to represent UNM in this capacity.”

Head is in his third year at UNM as a Bachelor of Arts Music student. He plays baritone saxophone in UNM's Wind Symphony and Adobe Quartet and lead alto saxophone in UNM's Jazz Band I and Funkhouser Combo, as the students have unofficially named their jazz quintet.

“Dr. Moss selected me to participate in the CBDNA SW conference in Kansas City. I was excited to get to meet and work with students from other schools in our corner of the country. I've also had the opportunity to work with Dr. John P. Lynch, the guest conductor for the CBDNA ensemble, in the past. I really enjoyed working with him again as well,” Head said. He describes the baritone sax as “the largest and lowest voice in the typical quartet instrumentation of soprano, alto, tenor and baritone sax.” 

The Adobe Quartet was one of the chamber groups that recently played at Roundhouse in Santa Fe during UNM Day at the Legislature in January.

“It was such a beautiful space and sounded amazing,” Head observed. “Getting to represent UNM Fine Arts alongside the Abraham Franck string quartets and meeting people from the Legislature and other UNM departments was a treat.”

Mauricio Fortuna Vazquez, a Music major pursuing a master’s degree in Music Performance, was one of the graduate students who performed in the Southwestern Regional Intercollegiate Band in Kansas City were. His specialty is bass trombone.

“I’ve really enjoyed my time at UNM this far. I am surrounded by a supportive community, and by teachers that really care about my development, not only as an artist, but as a human being,” Vazquez said.

Alejandro Alva is an international student working toward his master’s degree of Music in Performance. He plays alto, tenor, and soprano saxophones.

“The opportunity to study at UNM has given me new perspectives. I've learned about myself, my strengths, and my abilities, and, thanks to the guidance of my professors, I know I can reach new horizons that will expand my personal, academic, and professional growth."

Gabrielle Abbott is a graduate student with a focus in Music Performance. She plays clarinet.

“I was honored to have been chosen for the Kansas City Honor Band and excited to gain more experience and share my passion with other musicians,” she said.

Grad student Terrence Perrier, who plays the French horn, is pursuing Graduate Certificates in horn performance and Arts Leadership Business.

“Studying Music at UNM has helped prepare me for my professional career, and I think my recent appointments to the New World Symphony and San Juan Symphony are testaments to that,” Perrier said. “I owe much of this growth to my lessons with Dr. Walker, leadership opportunities afforded to me by Dr. Moss, and the collaboration I get to experience as a part of the graduate woodwind quintet.” 

Ricardo Zamora, who also went to Kansas City, is a trombone performance major graduate student.

Top image: Top row (l. to r): Brian Sterriker, Parker Head, Terrence Perrier. Bottom row (l. to r.): Jose Hernandez, Alejandro Alva, Gabrielle Abbott, Mauricio Vázquez, JC Bull, Ricardo Zamora