Mr. Espinosa: Band Director’s Cut


Photo by Dylan Padron


  Mr. Espinosa: the one and only band teacher at PPCHS has always had a vast interest in the sound of music. From the single Ding! of a triangle, to the low horn of the tuba. Putting small noises like these all together has always been a great talent of his; by transforming individual chords into a beautiful orchestra. Even though the job of directing a student band has been difficult these past few years, Mr. Espinosa has remained to play a key role in students’ lives, as well as their futures.

   Being a UF alum, Mr. Espinosa’s focus at PPCHS has always been specifically on band. In contrast from previous years, he has introduced the marching band to this year’s students. Although it’s not a much bigger difference, the director admitted it has been a challenge trying to comprehend his students’ abilities and strengths. “Since it’s a more physical skill, I have to acknowledge what the kids are capable of, whereas with a symphonic band, they’re just sitting in a chair the entire time. It’s almost like a sport, dealing with what they can do physically and musically.” Despite the clear challenges that come with combining physical and musical talents, Mr. Espinosa has been able to pull it off and put together several shows that have been performed at our school football games. They’ve also been able to bring the band even closer, as they learn to work with one another to put on the best performance!

   Most importantly, what Mr. Espinosa loves about teaching band is that the possibilities are endless! “We can do so much more with music and art than what you can dive into with a textbook. And it just allows myself and my students to be creative and put our brains together all at once. It’s just different!” 

   With new students this year who’ve never gained the full experience of a high school band, he’s still been able to change the mindsets of many. And even with the pandemic limiting creativity among many, one could say this is the most interactive they’ve been in all of PPCHS’s history. Gabriella Tolentino, a sophomore in both the symphonic and marching band, admits that joining the school’s band has been something that’s made her the happiest lately. “In the marching band, we don’t only play music, but pull off a visual performance that’s both fun to watch and be a part of. It gave me a sense of community between the other people in the marching band, and thankfully I’ve gotten so much closer to friends and made so many new ones.” 

   Gabriella recognized Mr. Espinosa’s special ability of tapping into hers’ and others’ untapped potential. “He’s always been a great band director–regardless of whether we’ve been remote or in-person. He manages to push me to work hard and to the best of my ability. Because of that, he influenced me to play a harder music piece that I didn’t even know I could play. And he’s even helped me persevere through anything from school to real-life.”

   Even with freshmen who’ve spent limited time on campus this year, Mr. Espinosa has played a vital role in the growth of their abilities all-around. Alessandro Alcerro, a freshman who’s participated in a school band for around four years now, has always had a passion for music and where it might take him. With Espinosa’s influence, he’s been able to learn and grow to his best ability. Alcerro exclaims, “Mr. Espinosa has always gone above and beyond with his attitude toward his students. He’s taught me that hard work does indeed pay off. He’ll always be there if a student is struggling with something in-and-out of school. He goes out of his way to make sure his students understand the material because he knows our potential and capabilities. And while he may just be a short teacher to non-band members, to some he stands as a mentor and even a friend.”

   For an all-band teacher, Mr. Espinosa has a great way of forming understanding relationships with his students. Not only does he teach them to perform to their best abilities, but also creates a safe space to blow off any steam. Having him on the PPCHS staff gives many a good reason to come to school. And the next time the marching band performs one of their incredibly coordinated performances, just know Mr. Espinosa is the mastermind behind it all!