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2/1/2013 2:15:00 PM Email this articlePrint this article 
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Domingo Gonzalez
Cashmere grad finds success at U of I
Kacie Thrift
Staff Writer

Four years ago, you could see Domingo Gonzalez, who graduated from Cashmere High School in 2010, up in the high school gym bleachers playing his heart out with a trumpet in hand. Now Gonzalez is learning to play multiple instruments and has been selected as a section leader for the University of Idaho Vandals Pep Band.

At the age of six, Gonzalez started taking piano lessons. In middle school, he took up the trumpet and singing and continued to pick up different instruments in high school including the saxophone, accordion, and guitar.

"I know how to play piano, trumpet, sax, sousaphone, accordion, guitar, bass, clarinet, flute, trombone, French horn, cello, violin, bass, bassoon, and obo. I can sing but I have been prone to breaking windows when I sing," Gonzalez joked.

After graduating from high school, Gonzalez decided to attend U of I and study music business. After taking a semester to reflect on the classes he would be taking while at the university, he realized there was an uneven balance between music and business classes.

Originally, Gonzalez wanted to go into audio engineering and was excited about the Jazz Festival at the university. He said, one day he realized instead of learning about audio engineering through the Jazz Festival, he wanted to play music with the famous musicians who would come to the festival.

"I figure it would be even cooler to get hands on help from them by performing with them," Gonzalez said. "I started looking at all different music majors and I started looking more and more into music education."

At first, Gonzalez took the idea of studying music education lightly until he started thinking about all of his previous and present educators including his mother, Laura Martinez, who is a teacher at Vale Elementary, and Kent Chalmers, the high school band teacher.

"I looked at all the people I was learning from and thought I bet I can become a better performer if I learned how to teach. If I learn the science about what is good for practice techniques and the science behind all these musicians who practice for hours day, I can be able to teach myself," Gonzalez said.

Currently, Gonzalez is studying music education with an emphasis in jazz. He is expecting to graduate in 2015 after he completes his degree and does his student teaching.

In the fall of his sophomore year, Gonzalez was required to take a semester performing in the 180 member pep band. He said he had never played in such a big ensemble before and wasn't sure what to expect. The summer before he had borrowed a sousaphone from Chalmers and practiced all summer to be a part of the sousaphone section of the band.

The following semester, Gonzalez received a nomination to be a section leader of the pep band for his junior year.

"I was selected as the sousaphone leader my second year in band, which as far as I know is basically unheard of," Gonzalez said.

While Gonzalez fills a good majority of his time in class and doing homework, he makes sure to fill all the gaps in his day with playing music. He gets up every school day morning and is on campus by 8:30 a.m. and doesn't leave until around 10 p.m. In between class and homework, he is playing guitar for different ensemble groups. He said he busier he is, the more fun he has.

Gonzalez is also spending some of his spare time playing in the audition portion of the band for basketball games. With dedication and hard work, Gonzalez does what he can to be the best musician he can be. He hopes to make a career in music education once he graduates from U of I. He said he has a lot of Cashmere teachers and professors at his college to thank for where he is right now.

"I really have a great deal of respect for educators," Gonzalez said. "I truly love all the teachers I had in Cashmere. Sometimes, I would be in the middle of class and have this realization of how is this teacher is making me want to learn. I always thought that was really cool to have the power to make school interesting so you want to be there again and again."

Gonzalez said his previous and current teachers not only made him want to learn but learn how to teach and inspire others.

"I will always keep Cashmere close to my heart because that is where I learned the craft to learn what I wanted to do and it has guarded the admiration in my heart."

Kacie Thrift may be reached at 782-3781 or

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