Don’t Stop The Music

Phillip Brents

Fri April 25, 2014 12:24pm

How does it feel to get up and perform in front of 35,000 people for the first time? Otay Ranch High School sophomore Maya Mendez experienced just that when she drew honors to sing the national anthem for the San Diego Padres’ game against the Los Angeles Dodgers April 2 at Petco Park.
“The sheer amount of people made it feel like there was a presence all around you, and I was shaking a little,” she admitted. “But it was exhilarating to be in front of that many people.”
Mendez, 16, has competed in soccer, cross-country and track and field at Otay Ranch. She also volunteers at Eastlake Church, singing at youth group and adult services.
She also puts her musical talents on display as the co-lead singer for the pop band Aaron’s Hair, which grew out of friendships established at the church.
The Chula Vista band, which formed last year, currently covers a wide range of music – from pop rock, glam, metal, country and ’80s songs. The sound, Mendez said, is a rather eclectic mix of alternative-Indie rock with influences of Motown, reggae and classical music.
The band’s name comes from a family friend’s incredible hair, Mendez said. The band is continuing to work on releasing its first album.
“We’re just writing songs and collaborating right now,” Mendez said. “We hope to do more performances in the future.”
As for sports, Mendez competed in last fall’s Mesa League cross-country finals, placing in the top half of the girls junior varsity race. She is hoping to make the girls soccer team’s varsity roster next season.
Mendez explained. “Soccer is my favorite sport, it’s my first sport,” Mendez explained. “I love the girls on the team — we have a very special bond.”
Competing in sports has helped her grow as an individual in so many ways, she explained further.
“As a student-athlete, competing in sports helps you manage your time better — I know, for me, it means I have to get my homework done,” she said, smiling.
Mendez is hoping her Padres’ anthem singing debut is the springboard to other opportunities. She said she and her family followed with much interest the “American Idol” odyssey of Eastlake’s own Jessica Sanchez two years ago.
“It was someone from our own community,” Mendez said, bright-eyed. “It makes you feel that if it happened to her that it can also happen for you.”