A master’s student in the Jacobs School of Music was part of an ensemble that won three Grammys on Feb. 10.
Salvador Perez Lopez, a clarinetist who received his Bachelor’s of Music at IU-South Bend, was nominated for his work with the John Daversa Big Band on the album “American Dreamers: Voices of Hope, Music of Freedom.”
DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, protects immigrants from deportation if they unlawfully entered the United States as children. Roughly 690,000 immigrants were enrolled in the program as of 2017.
The album won for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album and Best Arrangement, Instrumental or A Capella for a version of “Stars and Stripes Forever” as well as Best Improvised Jazz Solo on the song “Don’t Fence Me In.” The album was recorded by the John Daversa Big Band, featuring DACA artists like Perez Lopez.
“We can raise awareness through music,” Perez Lopez said. “By getting the word out to people to hear our stories, it shows there has to be change in the immigration system and there needs to be immigration reform.”
As a junior at IU-South Bend, Perez Lopez was featured in a series of stories about DACA recipients published by the New York Times, which is how he was noticed for this project.
“I was the very first Dreamer they found for this project,” Perez Lopez said. “I try to share my passion with the world. Like any other performer who might be American, I’m just another human being.”
Perez Lopez said he was glad to find out the album was even nominated for an award.
“I was happy that the album was getting awareness towards it,” Perez Lopez said.
He is now returning to Bloomington to continue his graduate studies in clarinet performance. He said he hopes the Grammy wins will help advance his career.
“I don’t like to brag that I won three Grammys,” Perez Lopez said. “But working toward my master's degree in music, I'm hoping it helps me later on to get jobs, teach, have the opportunity.”