by KELLEY GUSICH 

The power of music is an incredible thing, but never more so than when it can help give someone the ability to communicate. The Santana Brothers Rock Band is a premiere example. They are a seven piece rock band whose ages range from fifteen to seven, and their lead singer , Nathan Santana, must deal with a special set of challenges—Autism and Epilepsy.

The four Santana brothers—triplets Brendan, Alexander, and Nathan, along with their older brother Daniel , discovered their musical interests when studying at Rock and Roll San Diego School of Music. Director Mark Langford discovered Nathan’s stellar voice and pitch at a 2012 Christmas concert, but there were concerns as to whether Nathan could remember the lyrics due to seizures. When they found out Nathan’s seizures did not affect the part of his brain where the lyrics were stored, the band was off and running! Nathan uses his time with the band to work with his autism and improve his public speaking skills, social aptitude and eye contact. They added the Leon family—Julian, Catrina, and Melissa—to their lineup and started playing all over town.

Each band member is dealing with a hectic schedule. They all swim together competitively for Pacific Swim, and in addition to that and school, they take one private class per week in their respective instruments, and one group class/rehearsal per week directed by bass teacher Kevin Freeby. He and a group of teachers that includes Bob Sale for drums, vocal coach Stella Lindgren, and choreography and performance class Gabriela Santana, combine to prepare this high energy and entertaining band.

The band plays regularly at Kobey Swap Meet on Sundays. They have performed at Old Town Cinco de Mayo Festival, Serra Mesa Street Fair, San Diego County Fair, Balboa Park December Nights, La Mesa’s Christmas in the Village, Kid’s Expo, KUSI and Fox news, along with En Vivo cable show and several private parties. The band wants to gain fans by playing as much as possible, so check them out at Kids Expo April 27th, March 2nd at Little League Opening Day Del Mar & Solana Beach, Thursday nights at Back to the 50’s Classic Car and Bike Show from June – August in downtown La Mesa, or at Kobey’s Swap any Sunday there isn’t a swim meet!

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Band Member Profiles:

Daniel Santana (15): Bass player, sophomore at Canyon Crest Academy
Nathan Santana (13): Lead vocals, 8th grader at New Bridge in Poway
Brendan Santana (13): Guitar player, 8th grader at Earl Warren Solana Beach
Alexander Santana (13): Drummer, 8th grader Earl Warren Solana Beach
Julian Leon (12): Guitar player, 6th grader Oak Valley Middle School 4S Ranch
Catrina Leon (8): Vocalist; 3rd grader Stone Ranch Elementary 4S Ranch
Melissa Leon (7): Vocalist; 1st grader Stone Ranch Elementary 4S Ranch

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