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Maestro stint helps Sakata trumpet his musical skills

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Maestro stint helps Sakata trumpet his musical skills

Sierra High junior Alex Sakata has been playing the trumpet since he was in fifth grade. He’s part of the school’s jazz band and has been selected to both the Manteca Unified Honor Band and the San...

JASON CAMPBELL/The Bulletin


POSTED February 11, 2012 1:29 a.m.

It isn’t uncommon for Sierra High junior Alex Sakata to spend upwards of 10 hours each week practicing various pieces of music on his trumpet.

He’s been playing it since fifth grade and sits on both the San Joaquin County Honor Band and the Manteca Unified Honor Band.

Last month he got the chance to do something completely different when it came to the world of orchestra – step out in front of it.

Sakata – who also performs as part of the Central Valley Youth Symphony – won the distinct honor to actually conduct a performance with the wand rather than an instrument. The experience, he said, was much different than anything he had done before and was something he would love to repeat.

“Most of the attention is paid to the orchestra, but the conductor is out in front and gets some recognition,” Sakata said, noting that he got to conduct both the CVYS and the preparatory orchestra which features a string and wind section – 96 students in all. “It was interesting and it was fun and it was something that I’ve to be able to do again at some point.”

But in order to succeed in the world of music, one must be willing to dedicate large portions of their time.

When he was finally named to the San Joaquin Honor Band, Sakata not only had to keep up with his schoolwork and his regular band schedule but also had to travel to Stockton once a week to rehearse with his peers in preparation for the group’s grand performance.

Missing an entire day of school for a full, eight-hour prep session was also expected.

All of those things were just steps that Sakata was willing to take in order to keep playing the music that has become such a big part of his life – whether it’s his trumpet, frugal horn, saxophone, piano or organ.

And he’s even looking at making music a part of his career. He’s eyeing a career in music therapy to satisfy his urge to help people with his desire to keep music a major part of his life.

“Playing is something that I’d definitely like to keep as a hobby. I’m not sure if I can keep at that as a profession,” he said. “I’ll have to see how things turn out. For the amount of time that it takes to be a part of the honor band and all of the other things that comes with it, if you’re not willing to make it a career and pursue as far as you can then I really don’t see much point.

“It has to be something that you love.”

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