Leading his bandmates by example

ALOHA — Aloha High’s Luis Flores Herrera is making a splash in the statewide band scene.

Capping off his senior year, Aloha’s Luis Flores Herrera made it to the Oregon Music Education Association’s all-state wind ensemble, a first for him. Flores Herrera participated in the all-state symphonic band for the last two years, but this was the first year he made it into the more selective ensemble band.

That’s a big deal, he said, as no one from Aloha High School has made the cut for the state wind ensemble since 2020.

“I’d say it’s a pretty big deal because I’ve always been in a symphonic band,” Flores Herrera said.

He was selected for the wind ensemble based on his flute abilities, but his musical prowess doesn’t stop there. Flores Herrera is also trained in piccolo, oboe, English horn, bassoon, clarinet and baritone saxophone.

Flores Herrera has taken to playing music since middle school, joining the school’s band class to play flute in sixth grade.

“I was originally in choir … but my singing is not very good,” Flores Herrera laughed.

But not to worry, as the shiny flute drew him in. Years later, he’s one of the state’s top high school musicians.

With experience playing with the state’s best and most musical, along with many other audition-only opportunities he’s taken advantage of, Flores Herrera aims to help him and his bandmates excel in their musical talents.

“It made me grow as a person in general,” Flores Herrera said of the music event. “I’ve grown a lot as a leader and taken a lot of leadership roles in band.”

The all-state weekend coincided with Oregon’s January snowstorm, but even with some transportation hiccups, most of the weekend went off without a hitch.

“I was not going to miss out on senior year all-state,” Flores Herrera said.

The ensemble performed four pieces during the concert, including one written for and first performed by the 2024 Oregon Music Education Association’s all-state ensemble.

Flores Herrera said he was glad to have participated in this and many other select music endeavors through his time in high school.

“It’s more fun to play with people who are more advanced,” Flores Herrera said. “I enjoy that environment, where people really cared about the music and having fun.”

Flores Herrera attended the Western International Band Clinic in Seattle last November and has been part of Beaverton School District’s honor band for flute all three years it was available (freshman year’s ensemble was taken off the table due to the COVID-19 pandemic). He will also be participating in Pacific University’s Music in May program.

In the meantime, Flores Herrera has been in the wind ensemble, which requires passing an audition, since being a sophomore at Aloha High.

“Band, for me, is a safe space where I don’t have to worry about my problems,” Flores Herrera said. “Every place should be a safe space.”

When he’s not practicing for the band, Flores Herrera is a leader in the school’s winter color guard program, which allows him to see friends made along the way.

“I get to see all the people I’ve met before and cheer for people I know,” Flores Herrera said. “It’s even better to see friends to support, and they support you. It feels great.”

Flores Herrera hopes to continue playing music in college, at least as a minor degree. He’s also interested in becoming a color guard choreographer or director after shadowing the leadership of the Westview High School color guard team.

“I’ve put so much hard work in. I don’t want to stop,” he said.

He has committed to the University of Oregon and is likely to study political science before exploring law school to do immigration law.


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