This page is to honor graduates of the Brownsville ISD Band program. 

We will recognize the accomplishments of these individuals on this page.


If you have such information on graduates of our Band programs please contact

Paul Flinchbaugh at 956-554-2821 or email at


Five from BISD receive Gates Millennium Scholarships

Five of the Brownsville Independent School District’s top students have won Gates Millennium Scholarships, meaning that all of their college expenses are covered all the way through graduate school and that they will receive a myriad of other support.

Abigail Sanchez and Priscila Garcia (Band member) of Rivera High School, Jorge Rocha of Brownsville Early College High School, Sherry Hurtado of Pace High School and Lucero Estrella of Hanna High School are among a select group of 1,000 students nationwide chosen as this year’s winners of the Gates Millennium Scholarship.

“The key word is life-changing because it provides seamless support for these students, for the ones that don’t have the financial support,” Pilar Janis, BISD’s lead higher education counselor, said of the scholarship.

“One of the main aims is to create a cadre of future leaders in America. ... It goes to only 1,000, so it’s a pretty prestigious award, and we have five of them, so that’s pretty good,” she said.

Each year the Gates Millennium Scholars program chooses 1,000 of the top minority students in the United States to receive good-through-graduation scholarships. The GMS supports the cost of education by covering unmet financial need and providing self-help aid. Renewable each year with adequate academic progress, the scholarship also covers graduate school in computer science, education, engineering, library science, mathematics, public health or science, according to the GMS website.

In 2000, Brownsville native Emiliano Camarillo was among the inaugural class of Gates Millennium Scholarship winners. Today he is the head band director at Lucio Middle School. Coming back to Brownsville to teach was always part of the plan, he said.

“It allowed me to leave Brownsville and to experience other cultures and bring that experience back to my students. ... It allows complete freedom. All I had to do was focus on my education. I didn’t have to worry about how I was going to pay for it,” he said.

Camarillo, who earned a master’s degree in music education at North Texas State University, said the application process for the Gates Millennium is rigorous, a fact attested to by two of this year’s winners, Sanchez and Garcia at Rivera.

“It’s a lot of work, you need lots of extra-curricular activities and your essays need to be outstanding and personal so you stand out from all the rest,” said Sanchez, who will study bilingual education and plans to get her master’s and eventually her doctorate.

She will attend Texas A&M University in College Station, a school she became sold on after visiting the campus. She said winning a Gates Millennium Scholarship is a great feeling

“It’s such a blessing from God to receive it because now I know I have the financial means to attend college,” she said.

Sanchez is the daughter of Miguel and Imelda Sanchez.

Both she and Garcia said they will be the first in their families to attend college.

Much like Camarillo, Garcia plans to become a band director. She will attend the Moores School of Music at the University of Houston to study music education. She plans to eventually pursue a doctorate in music education.

Camarillo took the chance to thank his government teacher Patricia John for nominating him for the Gates Millennium and Janis for encouraging all BISD students to apply for the Gates and other scholarships.

“In our district, we work collaboratively,” Janis said. “We work as a team to help students get selected for scholarships. We believe in BISD.”





Pace High School Senior Percussionist Michael Gonzales has been accepted into the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. Michael will be involved with Berklee’s Jazz Drum Set Studies Program, where he will further his already strong passion for the percussive arts. The Berklee College of Music is one of the most prestigious music conservatories in the nation where Michael was selected from a pool of hundreds of applicants. Along with that accomplishment, Michael also received 1st Chair in the 2010 Region 28 Jazz Audition and excelled as a leader in the Pace High Jazz Band throughout his high school years. Michael’s success is stemmed from his everlasting perseverance and dedication to bettering himself as a musician along with the love and support of family, friends, and teachers. He has made all of Pace and Brownsville very proud and we wish him the very best as he continues to this new chapter in his life.



Fausto Cuevas receives Berklee Award

Fausto Cuevas receives Berklee Award

The Pearl Percussionist is being recognized for his neighborhood Latin music concert series. The Berklee Office of Community Affairs and Campus Engagement will acknowledge outstanding people who help the college to enrich our neighborhoods and facilitate the educational, cultural, and artistic development of Boston during the second annual Berklee Urban Service Awards.

On Saturday, April 16, 2011 at Berklee’s David Friend Recital Hall, 921 Boylston Street, Berklee acknowledged Fausto Cuevas in front of members of its community, city leaders, and community organizations.

The ceremony featured musical entertainment with Berklee alumnus percussionist
Fausto Cuevas and his band, Orquesta la Moderna. Cuevas is being awarded the “Performance of the Year” for his concert during the 2010 Tito Puente Latin Music Series, a free Latin music concert series held at various landmarks in different neighborhoods throughout the city each summer. Cuevas, who was on tour with Stevie Wonder last summer, flew from Norway to Boston specially for his “Performance of the Year” concert.

The Berklee Urban Service Awards are based on the principle that institutions of higher education realize their greatest potential when they serve as fully committed members of the community.

Congratulations to Fausto from everyone at Pearl Corporation!


Hanna grad makes Marine Drum & Bugle Corps



Hanna Band graduate

Fausto Cuevas in the news!

Stevie Wonder's Percussionist, Fausto Cuevas, To Give An Exclusive Institute Masterclass

Spectacular drummer and percussionist Fausto Cuevas is taking time out from his current European tour with the legendary Stevie Wonder to visit the Institute of Contemporary Music Performance for an exclusive masterclass on Monday 29th September.


A keen player since the age of eleven, Fausto first discovered his love for percussion while making his way through Boston's Berklee College of Music, and he has since emerged as one of the most in-demand drummers and percussionists in the business.


Fausto's discography spans from recording, performing and touring with artists and projects ranging from Latin to Legend, including: Julio Iglesias, Celia Cruz, Teena Marie, Cheo Feliciano, Al Jarreau, Tito Nieves, Nestor Torres, Roy Hargrove, and Britney Spears, Queen Latifah, he has performed at the World Music and Lady of Soul Music Awards with Sheila E and Amerie; the City of Hope Benefit with Rickey Minor Band and Taylor Hicks; and the Tobago Jazz Festival with Natalie Cole, Vanessa Williams, Patti LaBelle, Najee, and Johnny Gil.

This masterclass takes place on Monday September 29th between 7pm and 9pm.

For more information, visit their web site at




Rivera High School Graduate Yvanna Reyes performs with the VanderCook College of Music Band at the Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago


Rivera Graduate and UTB/TSC Music Student

Performing At Inaugural Parade With Drum Corps

BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS – DECEMBER 17, 2008 - A University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College student will march with The Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps for President-elect Barack Obama’s Inaugural Parade next month in Washington, D.C. and during the summer Drum Corps International performance season.
Erick Ramos, 19, a sophomore music education major and trumpet player from Brownsville, auditioned for the 150-member group in late November during the organization’s first performance and marching audition camp for the 2009 season.

“I can’t wait,” Ramos said. “I’m excited and ready for it.”

This will be his first time with the Cadets; in 2007, he marched in the San Antonio-based Crossmen Drum and Bugle Corps.

“I like the anxiety,” Ramos said about marching. “Your adrenaline pumps. When you are in DCI, you are in front of thousands of people. You know you are prepared – you practiced for 12 hours a day.”

The Cadets, based in Allentown, Pa., are 19-time Drum Corps International national champions. The group celebrates its 75th

 Erick Ramos, right, practices with a professor for his January performance. 

anniversary in 2009.

“It’s one of the top groups,” said Dr. Art Brownlow, a professor in UTB/TSC’s Department of Fine Arts.

The Cadets will play patriotic selections during the parade, held the afternoon of Inauguration Day on Tuesday, Jan. 20.

And, The Cadets will perform a musical tribute to composer Leonard Bernstein as their 2009 nationwide summer competition show.

As a member of The Cadets, Ramos will fly from Harlingen to Philadelphia once a month for weekend band camps until late May, when he joins other members full-time for four weeks of  what he called “spring training” when the performance show is put together and practiced.

He is responsible for the $475 spring training fee and the $2,300 summer tuition to cover food, gas, lodging and other expenses. Also, Ramos has to pay out of pocket for his trips to Pennsylvania.

He said when he was in the Crossmen that he visited local businesses with a sponsorship letter in hand explaining that his participation was for educational purposes. He said he will most likely use the same money-raising method this time for The Cadets.

Ramos began playing the trumpet when he was a sixth grade student at Brownsville Lucio Middle School. He went on to play in the marching band at Brownsville Rivera High School.

“I chose the trumpet because of the popularity of it,” Ramos said. “You see it and it’s like a universal instrument.”

Though UTB/TSC does not have a marching band program, Ramos chose to attend classes close to home because of the music program’s rising reputation. He is a member of UTB/TSC’s Jazz Band, Wind Ensemble and Trumpet Ensemble.

“I’ve always wanted to be part of something being built rather than something that is already there,” Ramos said.

His goal after graduation is to pursue a master’s degree and see what opportunities are available for a fulfilling music career.

“Be confident about where you want to go and don’t be discouraged,” Ramos said.

For more information, call Erick Ramos at (956) 465-3955 or contact Dr. Art Brownlow at (956) 882-8946



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Fine Arts Department 
708 Palm Blvd.
Brownsville, Texas 78521 
Phone: 956-982-3730 
Fax: 956-548-8354