Carlos “CJ” Solarte
Short bio: I am a 30 year old kid. The first house I lived in was 1915 Bristol Circle. I always considered this community as home and a very special place. Many decades ago, I went to pre-school and learned my abc’s in the building that is now our teen center. I am the Boys & Girls Club music director and our group is called “Blue Voices”.
Some of my music accomplishments include:
2003 and 2004 Qualified for the Regional IMEA Choir
2004 1st place in the Western Illinois Talent Show
Qualified for the National College Honor Choir in 2007
2007-2009 Tenor section leader for the metropolitan state college of Denver choir
2013 played the role of Annas in “Jesus Christ Superstar” at the Hemmens Cultural Center
2014 played the role of Paul in “Rent” at the Hemmens Cultural Center
Favorite thing about working with BGC: My favorite thing about working with this organization is getting to know the kids and their families on a personal level. Many of our members are in need of help and guidance and that cannot be possible without understanding where they are coming from.
Favorite memory: This is a hard question because I have too many to choose from. I will choose my top three.
1) In 2012, I coached the Golfview basketball team to their only championship ever; even though I am terrible at basketball.
2) The first music audition I ever held for our club was a special moment for me. The first students were excellent singers and it made me realize something special could be in the making.
3) When Blue Voices performed at the Midwest Leadership Conference in front of 400+ people. The energy in that room and the reaction of the crowd made me very emotional.
How I got started: The way I got started with club was pretty random. In the summer of 2010 my mom, who had signed up my younger siblings for soccer, told me the league was in need of referees. The rest, they say, is history.
One program, activity, or event: This is an easy one. I will go with Blue Voices. The singers never cease to impress me. It’s really a treat getting paid to listen to them sing everyday. I also love the summer soccer league even though the parents take it a little too seriously.
Guilty pleasure: I go to the park district daily to use the hot tub and skip the workout. I also eat an uncomfortable amount of food every night until I fall asleep.
Favorite TV show: The Wonder Years and Arthur
Favorite movie: La Bamba and Straight Outta Compton
Most influence on work: My middle school and high school music teachers, Mr. Higgins and Mrs. Minger, were the two main teachers who inspired me. I always loved music and singing but they were the ones who made me realize my potential in it. The main music influences to me are Stevie Wonder, Frank Zappa, Bob Marley, Carlos Santana, Micheal Jackson, Carlos Vives, Nas, Los Lobos, Dru Hill, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Selena, Notorious BiG, Lauryn Hill, Boyz II Men, Less Than Jake, and many more.
Bucket list: There is one thing on my buckets list I am completing on November 17. I will be sitting in the soccer stadium in Barranquilla, Colombia for a World Cup Qualification match against Argentina, sitting next to my dad and other loved ones. There is one last thing on my bucket list. One of my goals with Blue Voices is for these kids to completely understand the opportunities that music can bring in the future. If even one of my singers receives a music scholarship for college, I consider it a job well done.