Sawgrass Springs 8th-Grader Accepted into Florida All-State Honor Band

Sawgrass Springs 8th-Grader Accepted into Florida All-State Honor Band

Hunter Perez and his music teacher, Isaac Guido, during a lesson in the Perez home {photo courtesy family}

By: Jen Russon

The Florida All-State Middle School Honor Band gained a new member this fall with the acceptance of Hunter Perez, an eighth-grader at Sawgrass Springs. 

A percussionist for both the school band and jazz band, Hunter is trained to play three instruments well: the bells, drums, and keyboard. 

In January, the music director at Hunter’s school, Katherine Attong-Mendez, nominated Hunter for the high honor of performing at the FMEA Professional Development Conference in Tampa.

One of the largest music education professional development events in the United States, Hunter will be making music with some of the best juvenile musicians in the state next year.

It’ll mean hundreds of hours of hard work and devoted practice.

Magic Touch

“My students truly love music, and they especially love learning how to become better musicians and outstanding young people,” said Attong-Mendes.

She added she’s excited for Hunter to represent their school, not just at the FMEA event but at auditions for the All-County Honor Band held at Ramblewood Middle School in November.

“I’ve always loved music, but I love science-based subjects and learning engineering just as much, so even if I’m not chosen to represent my county at this next audition, I’ll always play as a hobby,” said Hunter.

Hunter and his parents, Diane and Juan Perez, said their middle child, Hunter, has always been a quick learner and an excellent student. 

“He just turned 13 and is in all honors classes and very active in baseball — even if he doesn’t pursue music through high school graduation, we know he’ll do something that builds on the skills he’s learning now,” said Diane.

Both registered nurses in Coral Springs, where the family also resides in the Lakeview community, Diane added she and her husband, Juan, believe in Hunter’s talent enough to pay for private lessons.

“He takes private lessons at home from an amazing student of the Frost school of music, who has been helping him over the past year. We’ve had a roller coaster of emotions during the pandemic, and Hunter’s musical achievement has been such a blessing.”

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