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MAS Ritmo Wins DownBeat Student Music Award

Written By Shanieya Harris
June 4, 2024 at 2:52 PM

Miami Arts Studio 6-12 @ Zelda Glazer’s MAS Ritmo Latin Band at the 2024 DownBeat Student Music Awards, May 2024. Photo credit Erich S. Rivero, Miami Arts Studio 6-12 @ Zelda Glazer, and M-DCPS Office of Communications.

Miami Arts Studio 6-12 at Zelda Glazer‘s MAS Ritmo Latin Band has achieved a remarkable milestone by being recognized as a 2024 DownBeat Student Music Award recipient. The band received this honor in the category of Latin Group Performing Arts High School Outstanding Performance Award.

“Winning an award like this brings instant credibility to the program and the students. It not only boosts student confidence but places a certain level of trust in professionals when working with our students. This brings more professional opportunities for the band and its students,” says Miguel A. Balsera, Ed.D., Principal of Miami Arts Studio 6-12 at Zelda Glazer.

This prestigious accolade has been publicized in the June issue of DownBeat magazine as of May 9th, 2024. The DownBeat Student Music Awards are highly esteemed within the jazz education community, celebrating the exceptional talent and hard work of young musicians. This award marks the first international jazz recognition for the Miami Arts Studio Band Magnet, showcasing their dedication to musical excellence and innovation.

Miami Arts Studio 6-12 @ Zelda Glazer’s MAS Ritmo Latin Band at the 2024 DownBeat Student Music Awards, May 2024. Photo credit Erich S. Rivero, Miami Arts Studio 6-12 @ Zelda Glazer, and M-DCPS Office of Communications.

The Miami Arts Studio MAS Ritmo Latin Band was established in 2017 as a Latin performance group and has since been fostering new generations of musicians from South Florida. One of their notable performances was the Celebrity Benefit Concert, where the group performed with Latin celebrities such as Roberto Torres, Carlos Oliva, Joanna Martinez, and Lena Burke. They also performed with Gloria Estefan on CNN for the Fourth of July 2022 special.

“We are astonished with what our hard work has earned us, and we’re grateful for this achievement,” expressed Jose Linares, Timbalero of MAS Ritmo Latin Band.

The journey to this achievement has been filled with relentless practice, creative exploration, and a deep passion for music. Under the guidance of their skilled and dedicated band director Erich S. Rivero, the students of MAS Ritmo Latin Band have honed their craft and embraced the rich cultural elements of Latin music while infusing their performances with unique flair and creativity.

While they have achieved this award, they also want to stress that it was not easy for them. “The biggest challenge our students face is time management. With 8 class periods and participating in up to 3 high-performing bands, there is much demand on their time and how they align it to their different responsibilities. This is one aspect that also prepares the students for future success, regardless of the career they choose to pursue,” says Balsera.

Winning the DownBeat Student Music Award is not only a significant accomplishment for the band but also a proud moment for Miami Arts Studio 6-12 at Zelda Glazer. It highlights the strength of their music education program and their commitment to nurturing young talent.

Miami Arts Studio 6-12 @ Zelda Glazer’s MAS Ritmo Latin Band at the 2024 DownBeat Student Music Awards, May 2024. Photo credit Erich S. Rivero, Miami Arts Studio 6-12 @ Zelda Glazer, and M-DCPS Office of Communications.

Erich S. Rivero enthusiastically says, “DownBeat Magazine is the magazine of choice for professional jazz musicians all over the world. This international accolade really puts the MAS Ritmo Latin Band on the map globally!”

The impact of this award extends beyond the accolades. It serves as a source of inspiration for the students, encouraging them to pursue their musical dreams with even greater enthusiasm and determination. It also shines a spotlight on the importance of arts education and the incredible potential of young musicians.

As they continue to break new ground and set high standards, the community can look forward to more groundbreaking performances and achievements from this talented group. Their success is a testament to the power of dedication, passion, and the transformative impact of music education.

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