Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

Dr. Betancourt: Cerritos College’s Music Guru

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A trumpet performance stands out during a jazz concert for a young Dr. David Betancourt as realization settles in his face about his future.

It was on that fateful night that Dr. Beatncourt, now Director of Music at Cerritos College, knew he wanted music to play a predominant role in his life.

Following that night, Dr. David Betancourt started playing the trumpet, as well as any instrument he could get his hands on, to explore the vast world of music.

It wasn’t until he got to high school, however, that he knew exactly what profession he wanted to pursue.

“I’ve had more of a passion, I think, for teaching ever since high school,” Betancourt says.

“One of my own band directors in high school really just changed my whole life… and ever since then I’ve been wanting to teach.”

Finding a field to teach came easy to Dr. Betancourt — it was an obvious no-brainer.

“It just so happens that I love music, so I put the two together and that is why I teach music,” Betancourt explains.

A man of versatility, Dr. Betancourt admits he can play most instruments, but says there are still a couple of what he calls “odd” instruments that he does not know.

“It’s the one’s that aren’t usually seen at places [that I can’t play],” Dr. Betancourt admits. “[For example] you don’t always see an accordion hanging around or a mandolin, so other than that, I have a basic fundamental knowledge of it.”

His journey to pursue his childhood dream kicked off at Berkeley College of Music and Performance where he earned his undergraduate degree in music education.

Dr. Betancourt wasn’t finished there, and a master’s degree in instrumental conducting at Northern Arizona University quickly followed.

A doctorate degree in music education at USC capped off an impressive run of diplomas.

All of these certifications finally allowed him to reach his goal of becoming a music instructor all while allowing him to continue playing his trumpet — and any instrument he wished.

Before he officially became a faculty member of Cerritos College in 1999, he taught at Northern Arizona University and at a high school just outside of Boston on the east coast.

Since his arrival, staff and faculty members have not overlooked the vital role he plays in the Cerritos College Music Department as recently as a year ago, he received the award for Most Outstanding Faculty Member.

But it’s not only the faculty at Cerritos College who praise Dr. Betancourt’s work of all things music related on campus, his students and band pupils have nothing but the highest of praise for the music director.

Anna Lopez, who plays flute for the concert band at school, has choice words for Dr. Betancourt.

“From one to ten, I give my experience [with the concert band] an 11,” Lopez begins to explain. “Dr. B. is an incredible conductor.”

Dr. Betancourt is happy with the state of his bands and his role at Cerritos College, but admits improvements are always welcomed.

“I’m always looking on how we can progress, but they usually meet those expectations,” Dr. Betancourt admits.

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Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.
Dr. Betancourt: Cerritos College’s Music Guru