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The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Saxophone quartet to perform at TMEA

Lesdy Hernandez
(From left to right) Music studies junior Tomas Hinojosa and sophomores Jaime Fernandez, Miles Avelar and Emma Hallett posing with their instruments, Jan. 25, 2024, at the School of Music Building.

From Feb. 7-10, San Antonio will host to one of the biggest conventions in the music education world. The Texas Music Education Association (TMEA), will host its annual convention, where music educators from all grade and college levels come together to enjoy performances, master classes, exhibits and more.

This year, Texas State saxophone group “Apollo Quartet” has been selected to showcase its music on the second day of the convention.

Music studies sophomores Miles Avelar, Jaime Fernandez, Emma Hallett and music studies junior, Tomas Hinojosa, recalled the day they found out they would perform at TMEA during a preseason marching band rehearsal
last fall.

“We’re in the blazing heat and I hear Miles and Jaime yell at me from across the field saying we got accepted to TMEA,” Hallett said.

“I thought they were joking, but I opened my email and I finally believed them. We were excited.”

Todd Oxford, a professor of saxophone and chamber music for the School of Music, said student groups must send in performance videos to be considered and possibly invited to perform at TMEA.

“It’s a proud moment when one of our student groups is invited,” Oxford said. “They worked very hard at preparing music that they felt would be interesting to the audience that comes to listen.”

To prepare for the showcase, the quartet would rehearse together four days a week and individually the remaining days last fall. The hour long rehearsals were used to strengthen the quartet musically and as a whole through talking, sharing jokes and having fun together.

Oxford compared the quartet’s hard work these past months to “building a bridge from the middle.”He said it is a very special thing to find four individuals who have the same drive, inspiration and work ethic.

“It’s like you have this glob of clay or whatever material you’re going to end up becoming into this beautiful work of art,” Oxford said. “It takes a lot of intense work. It should look very easy and sound very easy at the final performance, but it takes months and months of preparation for it to sound polished and for it to sound like a beautiful piece of music.”

Avelar recalls the quartet being eager to submit its performance video to TMEA since freshman year. He said it is because of Oxford’s continued support and push that they were able to accomplish this goal.

“[Oxford] pushed us farther than we thought we were ever going to be able to,” Avelar said. “He took his time and would show up. He didn’t have to do this.”

With people flying all around the U.S. to attend this convention, Hinojosa said the opportunity to perform at TMEA signifies an exciting moment for the quartet.“You start out as a musician, like in sixth grade, and you have this vision in mind of, ‘All I want to do is this,’ and for me I want to play for a lot of people,” Hinojosa said. “This is one of those moments when you get to step up on a stage after all these years of work.”

During the 25-minute showcase, the Apollo Quartet will also be debuting the first movement of a piece entitled “Loose Ends” by Californian composer Ray Klein. Oxford recalled being approached by Klein about a year ago with the piece and after starting a conversation decided the best way to decide on the piece was to give it a go.

As the date gets closer, the quartet said they are excited to represent themselves and Texas State as a whole.

“We set a good example, a good standard of how we do things here,” Fernandez said. “I think it’s good that we accomplished this big goal, especially with people like friends. We are doing this together.”

The Apollo Quartet will be performing at 9:30 a.m. on Feb. 8 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, Texas.

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