High school percussionist finds passion for music despite burn injuries

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Wednesday, June 16, 2021
Burn survivor finds inspiration in music
This high school junior lost his fingers and a hand in a fire, but that hasn't stopped him from becoming an extraordinarily talented percussionist!

GALVESTON, Texas -- Jesus Salinas is a rare talent.

The 17-year-old is described as once in a generation student by his band director at Ball High School in Galveston, where he plays percussion instruments, including the marimba and xylophone.

Jesus is fulfilling his dreams in music despite overcoming tremendous personal challenges. When he was a baby, he suffered severe burns in a fire and lost some of his fingers and an entire hand.

Jesus always had a passion for music, and first started playing percussion using prosthetics. Then he and his band director came up with an easier way, using sweatbands to attach mallets to his arms. Together, they're pushing the boundaries.

"Overcoming what he's overcome and the way his mindset is, I've never seen anybody do it like that," said assistant band director Andrew Vowell. "If we had more people like Jesus, we'd have less problems in the world."

For Jesus, the key to success is having the right attitude.

"You can't just wait for change to happen," said Jesus. "You have to create the change within you."