We connected virtually with Adam Barillas, an 8th-grade student at Hollenbeck Middle School to learn about his interest in music and how it helped him during the pandemic, and his year-long participation in the school’s music academy.

Hollenbeck’s Music Academy is directed by Mr. Erick Quintanilla alongside Mr. Christian Melgoza, who is the strings director. Over 400 students take advantage of Hollenbeck’s music courses: Concert Band, Orchestra, Mariachi, Beginning Band, Beginning Strings, and Music Production. You can see highlights here.

Unsure of what to expect, Adam was hooked on band class from day one.

What inspired you to join the music program at Hollenbeck?

Honestly, I joined the Hollenbeck band as a suggested course in 7th-grade. I wasn’t sure what to expect on that first day of school. But the moment I stepped into class and learned more about it I was very excited. I’ve always loved music and music classes. So I was looking forward to learning more.

What instrument do you play and how has it helped you during the pandemic?

I play the Alto Saxophone, which is good for beginners and easy to handle. I’ve always wanted to play the saxophone so I was thrilled to select my instrument. During the pandemic, being part of the music program has helped with boredom. I didn’t immediately receive my saxophone from school, but ever since I did,  my spirits have lifted. Having it with me and practicing during the week reminds me of how much I miss practicing with my teammates and learning from Mr. Quintanilla. It was always a good experience learning from each other to get better at playing our instruments. 

Do you want to continue studying music in high school?

Absolutely. I’ve had so much fun with this and with my friends. I just wonder how different it’ll be from this and last year. I’d like to attend Mendez High School and I’d be interested in learning more about their music programs and offerings. 

If you could open a show for any artist, who would it be and why?

Joji for sure. Joji is a Japanese singer whose genre is R&B/Soul. I love his music. It’s really soothing. So I can imagine myself playing a jazz number to open his show. It would be surreal.