CYSO Director of String Ensembles Daniella Valdez was recently featured on WGN News in honor of Hispanic & Latinx Heritage Month. Ms. Valdez was profiled by anchor and reporter Lourdes Duarte, who captured the passion and dedication Ms. Valdez brings to her roles as conductor, teacher, mentor, and colleague.
In the piece, Ms. Valdez talks about growing up in El Paso, Texas as a first generation American and how her family’s Mexican heritage, including “watching telenovelas…and listening to Juan Gabriel,” has informed her approach to music education, and that “a lot of what I feel [as a musician] is informed by what I grew up with.” She reflected that sharing stories about her own journey is “what makes an impact on the students. They’re listening sometimes more than we think they are.” As one of a small percentage of women in conducting roles and an even smaller number of Latinas, Ms. Valdez’s presence is a strong example for for her students, and especially girls and Latinx musicians and those from immigrant backgrounds.
Earlier this year, Ms. Valdez was honored at CYSO’s 2023 Gala: Women in Music with the Note of Excellence Award for her commitment to music education. In addition to her role at CYSO, she is also Director of Orchestras at Maine West High School in Des Plaines.