Betancourt keeps music alive by directing five bands at Cerritos

Alexandra Scoville

Back in 1999, Music Director David Betancourt was just starting out at Cerritos College directing Concert Band, but over the past 14 years he has acquired Pep Band, Jazz Ensemble, Pop Rock Ensemble and Orchestra.

These bands are all taught differently, according to Betancourt, and some of his students are in multiple bands to learn more about music.

“Each band has a totally different way to rehearse, totally different kinds of music, different make-up of the instruments that are there so you teach them all differently.”

Music education and performance major Janet Cisneros has been apart of the Cerritos College bands since fall of 2009 and plays currently in the Orchestra and has previously played in the Concert Band.

She speaks about what it is like to work with the bands.

“It definitely says something when you have a good director and you have the right mind set and the ensemble work ethic, everyone is working toward the same goal. When everybody works together, when everybody practices and everybody wants to play together and work as a team and work as musicians, you create that musicianship, that feeling you get when you create music.”

She goes onto say more specifically what it’s like to work under the direction of Betancourt.

“Betancourt is my mentor, and he is by far one of the best directors I have had and he expects nothing but the best from you but he also has a passion for teaching so he also looks to see that you are improving each time you come in”

According to Betancourt, he tries to have his bands outreach to others.

He has three types of outreach he uses and they are as follows:

Cultural outreach: The bands put on concerts at Cerritos College for people to watch.

Civic outreach: The bands branch out of Cerritos College to perform at memorial events or holiday events

Social outreach: The bands branch out of Cerritos College to play at venues such as a woman’s shelter or a children’s hospital.

The Pep Band’s outreach is when it plays at all home football game Betancourt feels that these types of outreach are important to the musicians and himself as a teacher.

According to Betancourt there is an upcoming Halloween Band and Orchestra concert at 7 p.m. in the Student Center.

There is also an upcoming event in which the Cerritos College band will join up with Vangaurd University to perform.

During spring, the Pep Band is switched out with Pop Rock Ensemble.