Mr. Portillo

photo 1 (1)Mr. Portillo is a Chicago native who graduated from Trinity College (IL) with a degree in Music Education, and an Instrumental minor; he also studied saxophone with Jarrard Harris. While at Trinity, Mr. Portillo was involved with the Symphonic Band (saxophone section leader and president), Concert Choir (bass section leader), Philharmonic Orchestra (Percussion Section leader), Jazz Ensemble (lead saxophone), and Handbell Choir. Before teaching with Band For Today, Mr. Portillo was the co-music director at Grace and Peace Community Church in Chicago.

There are many reasons why Mr. Portillo loves to teach music, like seeing his students excited when they conquer something that was once difficult, or watching the band rally around one person who may have had a difficult time. However, there is one personal reason that keeps things in perspective and keeps him grounded even in the most difficult of times. In a society where young people are neglected constantly, it leaves many young people feeling frustrated and misunderstood. Because of this, many young people turn to the wrong things, which could lead to life damaging results. Young people need to understand that their voices can and will be heard in every situation.

This is the main reason why Mr. Portillo loves to teach music. He believes that music empowers every person regardless of age, gender, or race. Music offers a positive and uplifting outlet and often proves to be an anchor in many people’s lives. Not to mention the qualities that playing an instrument or being a part of an ensemble provide, such as discipline, teamwork, cooperation, patience, and many other important life lessons.

When he is not teaching, Mr. Portillo enjoys listening to music of any genre and playing any type of game or sport, especially basketball. He continues to play his saxophone recreationally and teaches privately. Some of his favorite artists/composers are Charlie Parker, Igor Stravinsky, Dmitri Shostakovich, Duke Ellington, Joshua Redman, Phil Woods, Tito Puente, Stan Getz, Eric Whitacre, Dexter Gordon, and John Coltrane. Mr. Portillo also drives stretch limousines on the weekends—just for fun!

Parents can email Mr. Portillo at

Students and parents can check out Mr. Portillo’s Music Room.

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