The bands student musicians join — Part 3: Orchestra

BandJohnathan1WebIn our series about students who play instruments, we have been exploring the different types of high school bands kids can play in from marching band to rock bands. This feature is about a student who plays in the high school orchestra.

Check out Part 1 for a feature on Gabe Quinones who plays in a rock band and Part 2 for a feature on Marisa Shultz, a drum major in the marching band.


BandJonathanWeb2Jonathan Sotelo – cello player in the high school orchestra

By Allison Eatough

Jonathan Sotelo likes to be different.

That's why in third grade, when the rest of his classmates chose to play the violin or viola at Woodside Elementary School in Glen Burnie, Sotelo chose the cello.

"I like the low sound," says Sotelo, now 15 and a sophomore at Meade High School. "It was hard at first because I didn't know anything about music. The beginning is always hard."

But Sotelo quickly caught on. The Glen Burnie resident stuck with the cello through middle school and now practices his instrument several hours a day. He also plays with the Meade High School orchestra, which performs twice each school year.

His dedication to the cello and hard work has already paid off, says Eric Kilby, instrumental music teacher at Meade High School.

"Jonathan has a deep and committed relationship with music," Kilby says. "...In the sports world we often hear of people being naturals. In this instance, I can say that Jonathan exhibits these characteristics musically."

Sotelo also likes to stretch his musical boundaries.

While he often plays classical music at school, he practices covers of popular songs at home, like Adele's "Someone Like You" and "Rolling in the Deep." Later this year, Sotelo plans to audition for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's (BSO) Side by Side program, where some of the most talented public school musicians perform with the BSO in concert.

Still, Sotelo isn't all work and no play. In addition to the cello, he plays the drums in the school's marching band.

"What I like about the drums is... they're loud and they're not easy to break," he says.
He also learned to play piano in the eighth grade.

"It was to impress a girl," he says. "It worked."

While Sotelo's relationship with the girl only resulted in friendship, his relationship with music will likely last.

"There are things I haven't learned yet," Sotelo says. "There are people that can play so nicely, so well, with such a nice tone. It drives me to be like that."