• Matthew Sutton

Bremen Band Student Hoping to Win Big at the Grammy's

Salvador Perez, a graduate student studying clarinet at Indiana University, is traveling to Los Angeles next week to attend the Grammy's. He's not just going to watch, though-- he's hoping to win! Salvador recorded a jazz album with the multi-Grammy-nominee John Daversa Big Band featuring DACA Artists, which has been nominated for three Grammy's, including:

  • Best Large Ensemble Jazz Album

  • Best Arrangement, Instrumental or A Cappella

  • Best Improvised Jazz Solo

Salvador began playing the clarinet in 6th grade at Bremen Public Schools south of South Bend in rural Indiana. When asked about being apart of the band, Salvador said, "I can honestly say that being in Band at Bremen is how I truly fell in love with music. It wasn’t just about being in a band, it was about all the friendships I made through the program and all the unforgettable memories. We didn’t just play music, we were our own little family."

In high school, Salvador began taking his music study more seriously, joining Jazz Band, Marching Band, and Concert Band, as well as performing in the pit for the school musical. He began to practice outside of the classroom, and his hard work paid off with several gold medals in Solo/Ensemble at the district and state level. His senior year, Salvador become drum major, before winning the prestigious John Philip Sousa award.

Salvador has warm thoughts for his high school band director, Matthew Sutton. "He played a big part in my life by truly inspiring me to pursue my musical goals. I never would have thought in high school I would be pursuing a career in music, but now I am and do not regret it." After high school, Salvador moved on to study clarinet at Indiana University South Bend, and is now pursuing a master's degree at the Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana.

In 2017, Salvador was contacted by John Daversa after John saw an article about him in the New York Times. Daversa wanted to create a jazz album featuring amateur musicians who were "Dreamers," or undocumented people who were brought here through no fault of their own when they were children. Salvador was the first to be contacted, but after a few months of work 53 Dreamers from 17 states gathered to record on this unique album. Each track on the album is preceded by a short narration, and Salvador begins the entire album with his own reflections on being a Dreamer. Salvador performs on the clarinet in nearly every track.

When asked about any tips he would give Bremen Band students today, Salvador had these thoughts: "ENJOY IT! It will fly by and before you know, you’re going to graduate. Also, support one another. It’s not about who is “first chair” or who’s the best. It’s about the MUSIC and bringing a composition to life. Focus on that and you will all have a great time."

The Grammy Awards will be telecast on Sunday, February 10th on CBS. You can find more information about the album here, including how to purchase the album for yourself.

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