Guest performers part of OHS ‘Evening of Percussion’

About 100 percussion students from across Ector County Independent School District will get a chance to perform with professional musicians Lalo Davila and Fausto Cuevas during the annual Evening of Percussion, set for 7 p.m. Saturday at the OHS Performing Arts Center, 1301 N. Dotsy Ave.

Davila plays the timbales, made famous by the late Tito Puente, and Cuevas plays the congas.

Davila has played a variety of musical genres and with a myriad of groups.

Cuevas has performed with Jennifer Lopez, Stevie Wonder, Santana and Frankie Valli, Olague said. He recently performed on the American Music Awards with Cardi B.

Tickets are $10 and $5 for children 5 and under. They are available at the band hall or may be obtained at the door on Saturday.

Associate Director of Bands Jimmy Olague said the concert includes students from grades six through 12.

“It’s a great evening. It’s a great night of high-energy performances. It is totally different than what anybody would think a band concert is. It’s a chance for the kids to play with some well-known musicians,” Olague said.

Maddie Olague, Brian Rodriguez and Brandon Sertuche are Evening of Percussion veterans, but they look forward to it every year.

Maddie Olague, a 17-year-old junior, plays the marimba, vibraphone and a variety of other instruments.

Rodriguez, an 18-year-old senior, plays the marimba and shaker and Sertuche plays the piano.

“I’ve been doing it for the past four years and every year it gets better and better,” Rodriguez said.  

Rodriguez said he can tell he’s improving every year and the professional musicians help him along.

“I think it’s a really fun night. Most of my family comes out because it’s that big of an event,” Maddie Olague said. “Everyone loves Lalo and Fausto because Lalo cracks jokes any chance he can on the stage. We mostly look forward to the opener because it’s like a 12-minute compilation of different pop songs from the year that Olague (her father) writes out about three months in advance before the Evening of Percussion.”

Sertuche said the concert gives him a chance to grow as a musician and learn different styles of music from pop to Latin.

“It’s honestly amazing because they expect you to meet their standards, playing with professionals like Fausto. He plays with Jennifer Lopez and he played with Cardi B. You have to meet their standards and they push you to be a better musician,” Sertuche said.  

Maddie Olague said they get a little tense and scared the day Davila shows up.

“Yesterday was his first night with us and you could hear pin drop. That’s how quiet it was in the Dean Room whenever he was teaching. The past few years, we’ve had Andres Forero. He was the drummer from ‘Hamilton,’” Maddie Olague said.

He said that has really pushed the students because you don’t expect someone like that to be here.

Rodriguez said he never imagined playing with professional musicians, but he can see there’s a chance that, with practice, he could become one of them.

Rodriguez said he plans to attend Texas Tech University and study political science. After that, he wants to go to law school and become a lawyer.

Maddie Olague wants to be in theater and Sertuche plans to become a mechanical engineer.

“It’s really exciting it’s a really great way to wrap up the year,” Maddie Olague said.

The last day of school, they move all the percussion equipment to the courtyard and once the last bell rings they start playing, Maddie Olague said.

“And everyone that didn’t get to come to the concert can get to hear our opener from that year,” she added.