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Major of the centenary

It’s Thursday once again collegiettes…you know what that means, get ready to meet this weeks Campus Celebrity! Wilfredo Cordero looks like a normal 25 year old Engineering graduate student but what many don’t know is what he’s up to when he’s not in class or working on his investigation project. Read more to find out about UPRM’s very own Drum Major! 


Name: Wilfredo Cordero

Age: 25

Major: Civil Engineering (Graduate Student)

Hometown: Juana Diaz 


1. Why did you decide to join the band?

There are two reasons. First, I have been a musician since I was 11 years, I started out in the Juana Diaz School Marching Band where I learned almost everything about music. Since then it’s been my passion. If I had not decided to major engineering, I would’ve certainly been a professional musician. Second, my entire academic life has been paid thanks to my scholarship I receive for being a member of the band.


2. How long have you been a member?

I have been in the band since 2008, but I also was part of the UPR-Ponce Marching Band.


3. What have been your favorite moments?

I can fondly remember Mayagüez 2010 Juegos Centroamericanos, it was during that time I made the very best friends, whom are still in my life. Also, during my freshman year, the Puerto Rican Day Parade was dedicated to the municipality of Mayagüez .  We all had the opportunity to travel to New York and take in the sights, all while proudly representing our Alma Mater.

4. Do you feel you have grown as a person? If so, how?

Definitively! Working with students of different ages, personalities and ways of thinking has transformed me into a strong and positive leader. Interacting with so many students has given me a lot of patience and tolerance. I have learned to accept when I’m wrong considering that my decisions affect my bandmates.  I’ve also learned to trust the opinions of the other band members and to always try to strive for the best possible ideas and solutions in a way that I can include everyone.  


5. How do you manage your time with school work, band practices and your personal life?

That has been the most difficult part of being in the marching band. There are moments when nobody understands why I choose not to go to other academic meetings and don’t have normal free time like the rest of the students or why I leave my house early on a Sunday morning to be on time for band practice. These types of questions are kind of hard to answer, but only students who have been in the band can understand why we do it. At the end of the day this is just like the start of an adult life, in order to be successful we have to have a lot of responsibilities and learn to manage our time between the things we love and the people we love.


6. What instrument do you play?

I play the alto saxophone but I generally like to play a little bit of guitar and percussion.


7. How do you see yourself in the coming years? What is your ultimate goal after graduating from UPRM? 

I am already a graduate student, I have a BS in Civil Engineering, and I am close to finishing my Master’s Degree in Transportation Engineering. My ultimate goal is to provide a better environment for construction and planning of the transportation system so that we can life in a safer society.  I can see myself managing an agency or a project in which my leadership and interaction with people can shine through.


8. Would you say you’ve made close friends while being in the band?

More than friends, these guys are my brothers from another mother, and I know they’ll always be there. This is the main reason why I’ve never quit the band and I could assure you that nothing can break our bond. We’re one big crazy family.  


9.  How proud are you to be a part of an organization that has been around for a century?

Infinitively proud! I mean, I am the oldest active member in the band, I am part of a centenary institution, and I had the privilege and honor of directing that Centenary Marching Band! If there is someone who is proud I am the first one on the list!

10. Do you have a ritual you do before band practices or live performances?

Normally we’ll just talk about what we are going to do during the rehearsals and performances. One thing that is very important is that whenever the band is slacking whether it be because someone didn’t learn a music sheet or failed in formation they have to pay by doing push-ups, running laps or jumping jacks, only to remind them that our daily ritual is to be our best at all times.  


11. Describe the diversity of students in the band.

I always say that the university’s most talented students are in the marching band. We have students from all faculties like engineering, physics, chemistry, biology, philosophy, arts, etc.  All of that knowledge is put together to create art and beautiful music.


12.How does it feel to be in a position of leadership? How has this helped you professionally/ personally?

It feels good, you can let your mind run limitlessly because you have the opportunity to create new things and show that you can do it. Honestly, there is no better feeling that letting them do the things they want with all their crazy ideas, watching them critique their own work is rewarding. To me, the most important part is that they enjoy their own ideas. Being  in a position of leadership is tough, it’s all about them doing their best and having the confidence to allow me to guide their musical talents in a way that they can proudly represent UPRM.  I have been the Drum Major of the Marching Band for almost 5 years, and I have to admit that thanks to that I know that I will be a very good leader in the future.





*All photos were taken from the UPRM Marching Band official Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/BandaColegial

Junior majoring in Biology, future ER physician. Born and raised in New York. Lover of baking, Beyoncé albums, family and everything pink!
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