Striving For a Better Musical Future

By: Cristian Arvelo & Bryan Arroyo

Everybody has a calling in life, be it science, mathematics, or literature. Every person in
this world has something that they feel passionate for. For band directorMaribel Lugo García,
this calling was music.

Ever since she was inspired to learn how to play the saxophone as a
child, Ms. Lugo has trailed the path of music her entire life.
Her musical career started when she was 10 and joined the municipal band of Guayanilla,

Puerto Rico, . Over the years this led her to become the director of the first and only school
marching band in Guayanilla.

Maribel Lugo García, 40, is a very accomplished band director in Guayanilla.

Now 40 years old, Lugo García is short, a brunette and of pale skin. She wears glasses
and light makeup. She is mostly seen wearing casual clothes except when executing her duty as
band director, when she wears white pants, a green jacket and a yellow collared shirt.
She currently works as a school band director and music teacher in the Arístides Cales
Quirós Middle School in Guayanilla, but her teaching career started about 16 years ago. “First
I worked in Guánica for about 4 years in two different schools, and I’ve been working in
Guayanilla for 12 years, in the school I used to study in.”

Lugo García got her first teaching job when she was 13 as her music teacher’s assistant
during the summer. During this time she was able to offer saxophone lessons to children her age
and younger. “It was at this moment that I realized that teaching brought me great pleasure and
satisfaction.”

During her musical career as a student and a teacher, she had the opportunity to make
around 19 trips with her band to represent Puerto Rico in different events around the world.
“These trips have taken me to countries like Japan, El Salvador, Mexico and states like
California and Minnesota. In January 3,2012, the band performed at the Tournament of Roses
Parade in Pasadena, California, leaving a print in the history of Guayanilla. “They’re the real
artists of Guayanilla and Puerto Rico,” the band director during the press coverage.

“They have also allowed me to have cultural and musical encounters with students and
teachers from around the world.”

This band director is very proud of a recent accomplishment: she brought back the
tradition of the yearly carnival to Guayanilla. “Guayanilla had lost the tradition of making
carnivals, so me and my students took it upon ourselves to organize a musical carnival.” This
activity will be centered around showcasing different student marching bands around the island,
and will be held April 24-27, 2014.

The school band’s history.

The municipal band receives funding from the Mayor’s Office, as the current mayor of
Guayanilla is the former director of the band she now directs. This has helped her with some
of the fundraising burdens but she is always trying to find new means, be it through donations,
sales, etc.
Although Lugo García is very happy with her current position as band director, she had to
go through a lot of difficulties to be able to get the job.

At first she was hired to give part time while someone else was chosen as the director.

After two years, she realized that the job should’ve been given to her since she was a full-time
teacher while the chosen director was only a part-time teacher. So she fought for the position
as band director, which after many struggles and evidence brought for the consideration of the
selection committee, was finally given her right. “I had to go through many obstacles to get the
position I enjoy today.”

Lugo García’s band is a very special band and undoubtedly, well known. Being the first
school marching band in Guayanilla, it paved the way for many other bands to follow suit in the
island. The age of the members of the band usually range from 12-21 year olds, but there is no
age limit in the band. “We have some ex-alumni in the band but older kids, especially the ones
that go to college, have a harder time staying since they have other things to worry about.”

She doesn’t play any role as to whom enters the band or not, but does prefer to teach the seventh
grade kids because she believes that she “can teach them a strong base in music before they
head out to the more advanced techniques.”

As band director, Maribel Lugo García has achieved a number of administrative
achievements, which has spawned a number of benefits for the band. These benefits help give
services to the students of the band, which include but are not limited to: a corporate credit card
for emergencies; a band cellphone, for receiving band related calls; a photocopy, a van for
transportation, between others.

The band’s future goal is to perform at The Cavalcade of the Three Kings in Madrid,
Spain on January 5, 2014. “I am planning to prepare the band musically, mentally and financially
so we can perform what I like to call My Last Trip.”

This director knows the University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez’s (RUM) Band director,
Efrén, and as such, during her band’s trip to California in 2013, three of RUM’s tuba players
performed alongside Guayanilla’s Marching Band.

Slowly fulfilling her dream, band director, Maribel Lugo García’s hard work is finally
paying off.

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