Islander Trumpet Student Receives Prestigious Music Scholarship

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Music is a universal language that touches the hearts of many. It comforts us when we’re sad and energizes when we’re happy. And for some, like Dustin Hernandez, sophomore music major at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, music is all of this and so much more. It was Hernandez’s passion and artistry that led to his selection as one of only 14 students for the 2018-2019 Clara Freshour Nelson Scholarship award administered by the Texas Association of Music Schools (TAMS).

“I am a dedicated trumpet player with high aspirations, but I was also in need of the financial help to reach my goals,” Hernandez said. “With this scholarship, I can continue to study, perform and share the gift of music and trumpet playing to all.”

As a recipient of the Clara Freshour Nelson Scholarship, Hernandez will receive $6,000 per academic year for up to four years. This financial relief is a blessing to Hernandez, who is working a part time job to fill in the gaps at home. His mother, a widow, provides for his entire family. This includes his sister, who is also in college, and, until her recent passing, his grandmother. This assistance will not just aid him financially, but also afford Hernandez more time with the Islander Symphonic Winds, Jazz Ensemble, Trumpet Ensemble and Mariachi Ensemble.

“I feel a deep passion for this craft and feel as though every student, young or old, deserves an opportunity to witness the power of music,” Hernandez said. “I am driven to inspire, lead and teach future generations of musicians about the wonders of music.”

Educationally, Hernandez aspires to grow as a musician by one day obtaining a doctoral degree. After finishing college, Hernandez hopes to make his Islander impact by helping local students, like himself, improve as musicians and experience the joy of music.

“While I could be shooting for a seat in a top symphony or group that travels worldwide, I would rather bring life to my local area with music,” Hernandez said. “I aspire to be part of, or even establish, a jazz big band and revitalize an art that is often overlooked.”

Each year, four-year state and private institution, and two-year colleges in Texas, that are in good standing with TAMS, are allowed to nominate one student to be considered for this highly selective award. Recipients are chosen based on performance ability, academic standing and financial need. Dr. Mary Thornton, professor of trumpet at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, wrote a letter of recommendation to the TAMS selection committee on Hernandez’s behalf.

“Dustin is exactly the type of student that every instructor dreams of having in their studio,” Thornton said in the letter. “His curiosity is limitless, his talent apparent, his aspirations worthy and his work ethic stellar.”

Hernandez says he owes his success to many people, including Thornton and his other music professors.   

“I could not imagine studying under any other professor for my undergraduate program,” Hernandez said. “It is the dedication of Dr. Thornton that keeps me inspired to devote my waking hours to my instrument and work harder each day to move forward.”