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Tenor and Trumpet

JHS Senior Student Possesses Musical Talent in Triplicate

By Amy Morgan


This Johnson High School senior student’s musical ability can best be described as talent in triplicate. Charles Serrano leads the JHS marching band as the Head Drum Major, was selected to sing tenor at the All-State choir two years in a row, and has played trumpet in Johnson’s top Jazz Band, varsity orchestra and wind ensemble for the past four years. 


In fact, there’s not a musical avenue in which he has not performed with distinction. 


Charles counts his most memorable JHS moment the time he conducted his final performance of the fall marching season at the Alamodome his junior year. “I was overwhelmed by the band in front of me,” he said. “I wanted to wipe away my tears so I could see the center drum major better, but I had to keep going.” He’s chosen one of the band teachers, Miss Julia Donnel, to be honored as his Summa because of her friendship and guidance. 


Charles was already being considered for Drum Major when he followed the example of his father, older brother and sister and began playing trumpet at Tex Hill. The JHS band directors mentor middle school students and notice who’s standing out as a leader and a musician at an early age, he said.

While leading the band might have provided his most moving high school experience, being selected to the All-State choir also tops Charles’ list of achievements. All-State is an individual accomplishment and a very exclusive club, he added. Charles was one of two JHS singers tapped for this prestigious choir. Only five of his part, Tenor 2, from the entire San Antonio/Austin region are chosen to join the 500 vocalists from across the state. He noted it was an “awesome and very rewarding experience to get to sing alongside the very best in Texas.”


Charles honed the vocal talent for which he was chosen by singing in JHS’s mixed varsity choir, Cantare, for the past three years as well as the male varsity ensemble, Voci. Charles has also been a member of the region choir all four years of high school.


On the instrumental side, Charles normally uses a common B Flat trumpet, but recently he’s been playing a C trumpet, known for its orchestral sound, with the Youth Orchestras of San Antonio  (YOSA). When he joined YOSA his sophomore year he immediately qualified for the premier group. This May he’ll enhance the Tobin Center performance of the group’s approximately 90 “best of the best” high school musicians with his trumpet solo in the YOSA Philharmonic concert. Charles values this group because it affords him the opportunity to rehearse with highly talented peers. 


While Charles enjoys all aspects of making music, he plans to continue performing vocally in college, noting he expects stiff competition as he’ll be singing with students who’ve made music their major and potential career choice. In contrast, Charles plans to study biomedical engineering, which will allow him to marry his interests in medicine and engineering and pursue a potential career as a physician like his father and grandfather before him. He’s waiting to hear from Johns Hopkins and Rice, but in the interim, his class rank of 21 and designation as a National Merit Finalist have guaranteed him acceptance to the University of Texas at Austin. Not a bad “fallback” school, and one where he looks forward to joining the legendary Longhorn marching band, swapping JHS Columbia Blue for burnt orange. 

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