Jorge Perez

Finding His Voice

Bachelor of Music Education, Choral, 2019 | Conservatory of Music and Dance | Hometown: Kansas City, Kansas and Tornillo, Texas, a small town right off the Rio Grande River in El Paso County

Portrait of Jorge Perez smiling

Why did you choose UMKC?

It is very close to home, and the campus is not too large.

And I came here for the Conservatory. I fell in love with music and the ability to express myself through this beautiful art.

How did you discover music?

I fell in love with music about seven years ago. A friend of mine from church was auditioning for a music part at church, and was nervous about it. I hadn’t really sung before, but decided to audition to support my friend. Music was not even on my mind. I wanted to be an architect and then a doctor but then all of a sudden I just found music through my church. And since then, I just fell in love with being able to express myself through music. And now I want to be able to teach other kids how to do music, and I want to perform music.

Am I making sense? English isn’t my first language.

“Make sure to smell the flowers outside.”

Yes, perfect sense. Tell me more about the Conservatory.

There is so much work and time that are invested outside of school. You have to practice for an infinite amount of hours if you want to be a successful musician, singer or music educator.

One of the biggest benefits is being able to create music with wonderful people from all around the world with very different backgrounds. I have also been able to learn skills such as time management and to have perseverance. I have also had the opportunity to learn new instruments like the cello.

Since entering college, what have you learned about yourself?

I have learned that I am more capable of achieving anything than I thought I was. I have learned that dreams and aspirations can become a reality if I put my best effort forward.

It has inspired me to keep pursuing my dreams and that I can do anything that I set my mind to. It has also inspired me to keep learning and growing as a person and a musician.

Portrait of Jorge Perez standing with his arms crossed.

What’s the best piece of advice you have ever received from a professor?

My mentor and professor Dr. Charles Robinson says “make sure to smell the flowers outside.” So many times, we are in such a hurry that we forget to look at the sky or smell the flowers and appreciate life.

I admire Dr. Robinson because he puts people first and music second. To him we are not just musicians or singers, but we are people with individual characteristics. He is making a positive impact in the lives of so many people every single day. He is also an incredible educator in all aspects of the word.

Are you a first-generation college student?

Yes, and it brings a big responsibility with it. I am creating a heritage to be passed down to the next generation in my family. My parents were not able to have a college degree but always shared the importance of an education with my younger brother and me. I want to honor all the sacrifices they have made to give us a better life. I am very thankful to God for giving me the opportunity to pursue an education.

Portrait of Jorge Perez sitting a chair.

What’s your greatest fear?

Not being able to reach my full potential. I want to be the best that I can be in everything I do in life.

What is one word that best describes you?

Honest, because what is the point of not being honest? I am honest not only with people but with myself as well. I cannot imagine looking at myself in the mirror knowing that I have been dishonest. I cannot imagine living behind a masquerade. There is so much freedom and joy in being honest no matter what the circumstances may be.