Junior finds passion, outlet through music

Sadie Buggle, Editor-in-Chief

Music is a universal language that connects people of all backgrounds and cultures, and one that has been around longer than any other. It is a form of expression often more powerful than words alone. For centuries it has been a defining part of our culture.

Junior Bella Apodaca has invested her life in music. She practices and performs with 13 different music ensembles, including in band, orchestra and choir.

Apodaca’s fascination with music began early in life, as she grew up with two music educators as parents. When she was five years old, her parents sat her down and asked what instrument she would like to learn, and she chose piano. Years later, Apodaca continues to play piano, as well as many other instruments she has picked up, such as guitar, ukulele, flute, harpsichord, and four types of saxophone, many of which she has taught herself.

“I pretty much taught myself all of my instruments except for piano,” she said. “For all of the other instruments I play, I would just find music online and sight read until I got better and could experiment with dynamics and articulation.”

Apodaca has not stopped growing musically and is continuing to pick up skills. This year, she has begun accompanying the freshman choirs, and it has taught her to focus on new aspects of performance.

“It’s a totally different set of skills,” she said. “I have to pay a much greater amount of attention to the director and the dynamics of the choir. It’s completely different than playing solo piano because I have to learn to listen and to blend. I’ve just had to pay attention more and match dynamics and tempos.”

Music is not solely an ability of hers and a commitment that she has, but also something that works as a passion and a relief for her. Apodaca also composes her own music and has 40 documented pieces and countless more recorded or in her mind. This is something she started doing in second grade after getting a bad head concussion and having to stay in the hospital for six months. Composing has given her a way to put her feelings out through music.

“Music has always been an outlet for me, but since I’m in so many ensembles, it’s also a lot of stress and there’s a lot to keep up with,” she said. “But since I’m not composing for anybody, and it’s just for me, I can do whatever I want with it, and it can be unadulteratedly myself. It is just such a powerful and meaningful way to get through emotions. I can be really good at suppressing my feelings, and composing really helps my feelings come out in a more contained and better way.”

Music is Apodaca’s past, present and future: she plans to go to college for music education and vocal performance before getting her masters. Apodaca hopes to be a high school director herself one day and teach others to have an admiration for music commensurable to her own.

“I feel like high school is when people really find their passion for music. An overwhelming amount of students that take music classes in high school are people who are actually passionate about it and want to be there, and those are the people I want to teach and help,” she said.

Music intertwines Apodaca’s future, friends (many of whom are also in the FCHS music department), and family, including her sisters, who were also musicians in high school.

“They cared about it and had fun with it during high school, but it wasn’t their future like it’s mine,” she said. “It’s my everything. They had different majors that they could go to, but I have no idea what I would do without music.”