Posted: Sep 12, 2012 3:57 PM
Updated: Sep 12, 2012 4:05 PM
MERCEDES - Natural talent and a lot of dedication set Orlando Pedraza apart.
"Over the summer I play six hours a day, just trying to qualify for all-state," he said.
His teachers admire his Olympian-size work ethic. The young musician is ranked among the top 10 students in his senior class at Mercedes High School.
"It's natural ability, desire and drive that make him express music the way that he does," said Mark Rainey, one of his music teachers.
Orlando Pedraza won first place the last four years at the Texas Music Educators Association Region 28 All-Region mariachi auditions. He also was the first member of the orchestra at his high school to earn a superior rating.
He plays the cello, and loves getting a crowd going.
"I just want to make everybody feel the music," he said.
His teachers, husband and wife Mark and Virginia Rainey don't want to see him go when he graduates.
"We'll probably cry, we'll probably end up missing him greatly," Mark Rainey said.
His parents are proud to see him following on his older brother Omar's footsteps. Every note brings joy to Juan and Josefina Pedraza.
"When my kids are playing all the songs are my favorite," said Juan Pedraza.
Orlando Pedraza's first love is the guitarron.
His favorite song is the Mexican folk song "El Rey."
"It's a classic. ... Everybody likes ‘El Rey,'" he said.
Music is king in his life. He hopes to one day help people doing what he loves.
He plans to follow his older brother Omar to the University of Texas at Brownsville.