For the first time in Harlingen CISD’s history, two jazz bands will represent Harlingen at the Midwest Clinic International Band and Orchestra Conference scheduled to be held this December in Chicago.  

Vela Middle School Jazz I and Harlingen High School Honors Jazz Band were surprised on a Zoom meeting Friday. The students cheered, applauded, smiled, and celebrated together through the video conferencing website.  

“We are the only small city in America to have ever accomplished this,” said Ronnie Rios, director of music programs at HCISD. “Thank you, everyone, for your support!”  

Joining the video conference were administrators, HCISD Board of Trustees members, teachers, principals, students, and parents.  

“The Midwest Clinic began on Dec. 7, 1946, when approximately 120 directors from the Chicago area assembled in a YMCA gymnasium on Chicago’s West Side for a six-hour clinic and new music reading session,” according to the conference website.  

The clinic has grown over the years and proven to be an exciting gathering of some of the best musicians from all over the world.  

“I was a percussionist, and I do love jazz,” said Dr. Nolan Perez, the HCISD Board of Trustees president. “We are not surprised at all that you were invited to the famous Midwest Clinic in Chicago.”  

Dr. Perez was one of a handful of guest speakers during the surprise event held online. His colleague on the board Gerry Fluriet has been a supporter of the arts throughout her time as an educator and board member.  

“In our hearts and in our spirits we are there celebrating with you,” she told the students and parents who closely listened in along with dozens of other participants.  

Harlingen CISD Superintendent Art Cavazos was thrilled to see the students’ smiling faces as they found out they qualified and were accepted to attend the conference.  

“My heart is warm just watching each one of you,” he said. I miss each of you. I miss my staff as well, and I am super proud of you all for continuing to accomplish incredible things.”  

HHS Director Maria Coronado and VMS Director Erika Uribe gave heartfelt speeches to their students.   

“We are humbled by this opportunity,” said Coronado. “Thank you, parents, for being there in support of the students. I want to let you all know that your kids are loved and supported every step of the way.”  

The Midwest Clinic International Band, Orchestra and Music Conference is slated to begin Dec. 16. The clinic “offers attendees the most up-to-date music styles and education techniques” and showcases the newest and greatest ideas and talents. 

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