New Bremen senior finds himself with music

Staff Writer

Growing up, Alberto Benitez was the new kid in school more than once. Six times to be exact. Change can be difficult for anyone, but for Benitez music has always been a constant in his life, and hopes to continue working with it any way he can.
Music is something he says has had a large impact on not only his life but his family as well.
“It was very good for them and it could be good for me,” Benitez said. “And I want to show people and make them feel and have so much emotion about music. I think music, it identifies people and shows who they are and I want to either teach them or show them.”
He added that music is a part of his life on a daily basis, and likes how it can portray any emotion, which can reveal a lot about a person. Whether people notice it or not, music is everywhere, he added.
There are two people he credits for helping him excel in his performance abilities: Patty Ruckman and Harriet Bundy, the choir teacher and drama club director. It was those two that pushed him to try out for outside drama and musical groups. He joined Crescent Players this year, portraying Roger in their production of Grease.
“I think if it wasn’t for [Bundy] I would’ve never got into Crescent Players,” Benitez said. “She was the one who actually pushed me and was like, ‘hey there’s a community group with people like you who really do enjoy music and enjoy acting, you should be apart of it.’”
He went on to say that he is very appreciative of her and her family for pushing him to be apart of drama club and the Crescent Players.
Choir was his first introduction into performing. He performed solos, was apart of a all-male acapella group and recently has been auditioning to be part of state and national choir ensembles.
He said when he first started performing he often stood off to the side singing, until one day the previous drama instructor pulled him forward and told him, “you have so much [energy], I want you to be as the leader, as the front.”
It was Ruckman who told him about the auditions for bigger ensembles outside of New Bremen.
“She helped me a lot telling me how there’s auditions; there’s these ensembles with talented voices and told me, ‘hey, you’re very good at what you’re doing for your performance in shows but if you want to upgrade and would like to see how it is outside of New Bremen, you should try these,’” Benitez recalled. “And I think my first one that she actually put me in was the Mad River Festival at Wright State and there I think was my turning point going to gifted voices.
“And I met a lot of new friends and kept in touch with them.”
Since then he has auditioned, and been accepted into the state large group ensemble and the 2018 All-National Honor Mixed Choir where he, and Sean LaFleur, will perform in Orlando, Florida in late November.
Before, he had never really put much thought into who he had admired, but after some thinking he realized that Ruckman and Bundy were two people who had impacted his life in a positive manner. Being a part of choir and drama club have helped open him up and participate in opportunities he has truly enjoyed.
“I think during my freshman year when I had the choice do I go to choir or do I not? I chose yes, but then I was at that point, I’ll just do my elective credits and just take this class and that’s it,” Benitez said. “But then it really opened me up, [Ruckman] gave me opportunities and she gave me things I never even thought of and a lot of kids were always choosing her class like, ‘oh it’s easy and I can get an easy grade.’ But I look at them like that’s not how it is.
“Music is something people do spend most of their life in. It’s not something to be easy it’s something for yourself to be challenged and prove what you are.”
The impact these departments have made on Benitez is what has pushed him to pursue a double major in musical theater and business management. For Benitez, music is his No. 1, but his family has always told him to always have a backup plan, just in case.
Right now, Benitez spends time working at his family’s restaurant, Casa Lupita. He said if the music doesn’t work out, he wants to own and operate an “empire” of restaurants.
“That’s just like a plan b. My family says, ‘always be prepared for anything that comes,’” Benitez said.
As for younger students, Benitez has some advice for them as well. He said students should be themselves and not to care what others think. He also mentioned they should participate in the things they want to do, not just the activities their friends want to do.
This is a lesson he learned himself when he first joined choir and stopped participating in football.
“I did lose touch of best friends, people who I thought would be there to the end,” he recalled. “Since that door was closed another door was opened, where as now I have great friends. They have different opinions than I do and I think that’s just [great] … we’re all different and I think being different and being yourself is something that you should be confident and proud of yourself with.”