Million Dollar Band and Their Successful Year


Marching Band at the Jr. Orange Bowl Parade

By Natalie Morales, Staff Writer

   Band Director Mr. Hernandez reports on the success of the Million Dollar Band (MDB) and band programs for the ‘22-’23 school year.

   Throughout this school year, MDB was able to achieve many things, including overall Excellent ratings at their Marching MPA (Music Performance Assessment). The jazz band received Superior ratings at district Jazz MPA and Excellent ratings at state. And the symphonic band received overall Excellent ratings at their district MPA. Colorguard also received Superior ratings at district and state evaluations.

Marching Band and Color Guard at the Hialeah Competition

   “This means every part of the program has improved on their ratings from last year,” said Mr. Hernandez. The band also got a lot of playing time. “We had performances for the Boy Scouts of America, the Jr. Orange Bowl, Commissioner Manolo Reyes, the city of Miami and Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, the MHS Athletic Hall of Fame, and even for Udonis Haslem,” said Mr. Hernandez.

   Mr. Hernandez emphasizes his deep pride and admiration for MDB and all the band programs, as he feels they all had an overall successful year. One event he is particularly proud of was during the MHS Athletics Hall of Fame.

   “I thought the jazz band had the best performance of the year there. Everything just clicked and I am still receiving compliments from those who were in attendance,” he said.

   Compared to the ‘21-’22 school year, their numbers have grown tremendously. 

“In the marching band, we went from 17 winds and 9 percussionists to 33 winds and 13 percussionists,” he said. “Looking forward to next year, with the current interest, we may have a marching band of over 100 people. Our jazz and symphonic bands have also grown a bit, but the most dramatic growth was in the beginning band which grew from less than 30 members to over 50.”

   MDB could not have done it, however, without the leadership of great individuals.

Marching Band Member Michael Albert Conducing During the Spring Concert

   This year’s officers were:

 Paola Pomareda as Drum Major

Michael Albert as Band Captain

 Olga Calixtro as Majorette Captain

Norma Paz as Stingarette Captain.


   Next year’s officers are: 

   Albert Acosta as Drum Major

Robert Capetillo as Band Captain

Stephanie Fortozo as Majorette Captain

Katherine Aragon as Stingarette Captain.


   As successful as they were this year, they still had some difficulties. 

   “Like every program, we have faced lots of financial setbacks. Buses to events are expensive. Our instruments are expensive. Repairs are expensive. It’s impossible to do without all the support we get,” said Mr. Hernandez.

   He also expresses how he wishes certain things had a different outcome, such as the performance of the symphonic band at their MPA. “I wish the band was able to perform at more venues out of the county and show off their talents, like at the state marching band championship or even in Walt Disney World for a parade. The band loves performing, and one of the best things about being in band is the chance to perform in new places,” he said. 

   Despite this, Mr. Hernandez, along with MDB, looks ahead to the future and all its possibilities. He hopes that in the near future, MDB achieves perfect Superior ratings and has students participate in every honors ensemble they can. 

   He also hopes to see changes in the future at Miami High. 

   “I want more people in the school to realize that you don’t need to have ‘a gift’ for music, you can do it as long as you’re interested and are willing to work for it. If you’re at all interested, you should give it a shot,” he said. 

   He would like to let everyone know of the opportunities MDB can offer for those interested in music. 

   “For starters, we have our beginning band!,” he said. “I’ll teach you everything you need to know about playing a band instrument. And if your class schedule is full, the marching band is extracurricular and also a ton of fun, and our percussion auditions are open to everyone. The auditions for next year have already happened, Sorry!”

   He encourages everyone to keep up with them on the MDB Instagram (@miamiseniorhighband)