Noah Nieves

Saint Peter Middle School sixth grader Noah Nieves recently had the opportunity to showcase his guitar playing and singing skills for his music teacher, Jamie Abels, and his classmates, which was very well received, to say the least.  

“As part of our celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15-Oct. 15) and learning about Hispanic music and culture, we were studying mariachi music in class when Noah approached me about bringing in his guitar to perform some mariachi music for the class, and I didn’t hesitate in telling him, yes,” Abels said. “I knew he played guitar, but we were all blown away by his musical talents. I’m telling you, his classmates’ jaws dropped when he started playing because they were so impressed. After he got done playing and singing, he spent some time answering questions from his classmates who were so excited to learn more about it.

“Noah was so proud to share his musical talents with his classmates, and he is such a positive role model for them. This was such a great experience for all of us and fit in so perfectly with what we were studying.”

The budding sixth-grade musician had mixed emotions about performing for his classmates, but in the end he was glad he did. 

“I’m not going to lie, I was pretty nervous about getting up in front of my classmates to play, but it was also exciting, too,” Nieves said. “It was a lot of fun to do, and I was so happy to see how they responded. It was just an awesome feeling, and I couldn’t believe how many questions they asked about me playing the guitar and singing.”

Noah, the son of Larissa and Rojelio Nieves of St. Peter and brother to Hailey, a third grader at North Elementary, has been influenced musically mainly through his father as well as his grandfather. They both play the guitar, and his father is a member of a band that plays for special events like weddings, birthday parties, and other gatherings. Noah started out in music at around age 3 by pretending to play on a ukulele while watching his father play and said he started playing the guitar “for real when I was about 8 years old.”

“I learned a lot just by watching my Dad and Grampa play, but I mostly taught myself to play,” Nieves said. 

While he enjoyed showing his classmates and teacher his mariachi skills, his favorite kind of music to perform is Norteño, which is a genre of Regional Mexican music. According to Wikipedia, “the music is most often based on duple and triple meter and its lyrics often deal with socially relevant topics, although there are also many norteño love songs.”

He also is a fan of rock music as well as another Latin American genre of music, Cumbia, that originates from Colombia but has been reinvented and adapted in Mexico. In addition to those musical interests, Nieves also plays saxophone in the SPMS sixth grade band as a way to expand on his musical skills. 

“I enjoy music so much that I’d like to make a career out of it, especially playing the guitar and singing for people,” he said. "I know I have a lot to learn before then, and playing in front of people, like my classmates, helps, too."