Meet the Rios

Sophomore Shares Band Experience, Hawaiian Shirt Collection

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Photo by Caleb Taylor

Performing on Baritone saxophone, sophomore Ryan Rios marches with the band at a football game. Most of his free time is spent practicing his show music & contest études. “I’ve been pushing really hard to practice in the little free time I have,” Rios said. “But I’m hoping to potentially make District this year and continue getting better to make State. This is all to say that I’m incredibly motivated to keep getting better at my instrument, and to possibly pursue music performance or education as a career.”

Caleb Taylor, Reporter

Countless historical figures are known by only one name: Socrates, Buddha, Selena. However, no mononym is quite as notorious as Cedar Park’s very own Rios. 

“I think it was actually my friend Ciaran who might have started referring to me as just ‘Rios’,” sophomore Ryan Rios said. “He told me it suited me better, and eventually it picked up around the whole saxophone section, and then the band, and then around the school.”

An avid saxophone player, Rios has been in the band program since he was in sixth grade.

“The band community is incredibly accepting and uplifting, and I’m so incredibly thankful for this program,” Rios said. “I have aspirations to be on the student leadership team so I can motivate others even more and be a role model for incoming members.” 

As a band member, Rios participates in the TMEA All-State contest that goes through District, Region, Area and State. His freshman year he got ninth place out of 19, but this year says he’s looking for different results.

“I’ve been pushing really hard to practice in the little free time I have, but I’m hoping to potentially make District this year and continue getting better to make State,” Rios said. “This is all to say that I’m incredibly motivated to keep getting better at my instrument, and to possibly pursue music performance or education as a career.”

Despite not advancing in the Region room last year, Rios has been awarded many accolades through band, including performing at the Midwest Clinic in Chicago with the Cedar Park Middle School band, and going to Seattle, Washington in November of last year to perform in the Western International Bands Clinic with the Cedar Park Saxophone Ensemble, which he joined as just a freshman.

“The Seattle trip with the saxophonists was so much fun,” Rios said. “It was an experience I’m going to remember forever. It was my first time up North, and the fact I was able to go with my friends made it an incredibly fun experience.” 

Video courtesy of the Western International Band Clinic

Rios was the only freshman in the ensemble last year, and says he had a hard time fitting in and worried about messing up in front of more experienced members. After trial and error and some one-on-one talks with the instructor, he said he was able to find his place and fit in.

“The performance itself at the clinic went really well,” Rios said. “All the songs we played were really fun and challenging, especially since it was only my second year on the Baritone saxophone, which is the lowest saxophone in the ensemble. I still sometimes listen back to our performance on YouTube [and] I remember [what] it was like to be on that stage, actually playing the music.”

The most noticeable thing about Rios, however, is his collection of Hawaiian shirts that he wears almost daily. He said he wanted to change up his style and stand out.

“In seventh grade I got bored of always wearing normal t-shirts or hoodies,” Rios said. “I wasn’t happy with the way I dressed and I wanted to change my style, and my older sister was like ‘yeah, you should do that.’ So I bought three Hawaiian shirts, two of which I’ve given away and I don’t know where [the other one] went. I decided to change my style and it really stuck, and now it’s basically all that I wear.”

Rios says he usually sources his shirts from thrift stores, Amazon, Target and gifts from family and friends.

“Being able to stand out in my own unique way is great, plus my closet is very colorful and full,” Rios said.