Sandra Herrera was born and raised in Fort Collins, Colorado, and began playing clarinet at the age of twelve, although her love of music began with piano lessons at the age of seven. After graduating high school, she went on to major in music at Colorado State University, where she received a scholarship and studied with Dr. Charles Lawson. While at CSU, she participated in nearly every ensemble including the wind ensemble, symphonic band, marching band, symphony orchestra, chamber orchestra, and countless chamber groups. In addition, she also played in many productions of CSU Opera Theater and the CSU Theater department. Outside of the school environment, she worked part-time at a well-known dinner theater in Fort Collins, playing clarinet, flute, and saxophone for Cats in 2004 and clarinet and flute in My Fair Lady in 2005. By the time she received her bachelor’s degree in December of 2005, she had recieved many awards including the Fort Collins Music Club Scholarship and the Wendel Deibel Performance Award. She was also a finalist in CSU’s concerto competition her senior year, where she had the opportunity to play Debussy’s Premeire Rhapsody with the CSU Symphony in February of 2006.
After graduation, she attended the University of Denver’s Lamont School of Music, where she began pursuing Master’s degree in performance. She was also awarded a teaching assistantship, where she taught clarinet to undergraduate saxophone players. She was lucky to be able to study with Abby Raymond, who is a clarinetist in the Colorado Symphony Orchestra. While at DU, she competed in the annual concerto competition where she received the distinction of Honorable Mention. Her woodwind quintet achieved the same distinction at the school’s chamber music competition. After one year at DU, she transferred to the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY where she studied with Kenneth Grant and Robert Dilutis. She was the recipient of a Graduate Award, where she was able to teach private clarinet lessons to students at the University of Rochester. She also had the unique opportunity to study chamber music with the renowned collaborative pianist Jean Barr, and Ying Quartet violist, Phillip Ying. She also had the privilege of playing in the ensembles Musica Nova, Eastman Philharmonia, and the world famous Eastman Wind Ensemble. She spent two years at Eastman, graduating in May of 2009 with a Master of Music in clarinet performance.
Currently, Sandy is a musician in the United States Navy. She entered the service in May of 2011, and was sent to play with the U.S. Fleet Forces Band at Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia. She performed with the ceremonial band, woodwind quintet, and wind ensemble. In 2014, she was transferred to the Pacific Fleet Band in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, where she performed with the ceremonial band, clarinet trio, and wind ensemble. She had the incredible opportunity to represent Navy Music by performing with a select group of fellow navy musicians during the 2018 Midwest Clinic. After four years of living in paradise, she was transferred to the Naval School of Music in Virginia Beach, Virginia to complete an 8-month musical leadership training course. After completion of the course, she was transferred back to the U.S. Fleet Forces Band in Norfolk, Virginia. Sandy is also an active teacher, and has taught students of all ages in every place she has called home. Many of her students have been accepted at summer festivals and have won positions in All-County or All-State ensembles. Also, many have gone on to major in music in college. She is a very active performer in the community, and she has been involved with ensembles such as the Greater Rochester Music Educators Band and Ad hoc, in Rochester, NY, Hawaii Symphonic Band in Honolulu, and the Virginia Wind Symphony in Norfolk, VA. She had the distinct opportunity to perform with the VWS at the 2012 Midwest Clinic.
Sandy currently lives in Virginia Beach with her husband, son, and three chihuahuas.