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Several young musicians learned how they can hone their skills at the collegiate level during “Music Major For A Day”.

The members of the SMHS Jazz and Marching Band program recently (Oct. 7) visited California State University, Northridge where they sat in on music classes including American Music History, Wind Ensemble and Jazz Theory. The young people also asked professors and students plenty of questions and took a tour of the campus.

Music Director Ulises Valdivia knows the students, all of whom had never been to that big city before, did not miss a beat.

“Watching them take notes, listening and their jaws just dropping was incredible,’’ said Valdivia, who graduated in 2001 from CSUN with a degree in music education. “They told me ‘wow …I can be there too’. The main thing is just to give them the gift of music so they can enjoy it for the rest of their lives.’’

Senior Stephanie Fernandez Sanchez said the encounter made her want to call CSUN home.

“I promised myself that a year from now, I’d be in Northridge living my dream,’’ she said. “My experience was very vicarious because I got to live something that was so vague talking about, it was something that I just imagined myself doing and saying ‘oh I play trombone for a living’, as opposed to actually being exposed to such an ecstatic environment like that. Music is definitely what I want to do for the rest of my life; I can’t imagine who I’d be without it.’’

Student Francisco Chicas said the field trip made him more “passionate” and changed his “perspective” about music and college.

“The trip opened our eyes, and gave us a feeling of actually being a college student,’’ the 10th grader said. “It was definitely a life changing experience.’’

And when the trip was over, these musical Saints made sure they did not forget their manners, Valdivia said. Everyone took the time to thank students and professors such as Gary Pratt, whose teaching talents focus on jazz.

Many of Valdivia’s students have gone on to play at the university level. Several are presently in the marching bands or music departments at USC, UCLA, Fresno State and others.


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