Faculty & Staff


Jessie O’Hara Maestas


Jessie O’Hara Maestas was born and raised in Las Cruces, New Mexico, to a family of performing artists and teachers. She earned her Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees at New Mexico State University. She has played as a section violinist with the Las Cruces Symphony Orchestra, West Texas Symphony, New Mexico Philharmonic, and the El Paso Symphony Orchestra. Jessie loves to play chamber music and has performed throughout the region. Over the last few years, she has incorporated more Jazz and Latin American influences into her repertoire and enjoys singing and performing on her violin whenever possible.

Jessie currently serves on the Membership and Engagement Committee for El Sistema USA, supporting collaboration between social music projects. Jessie was a member of the 2022-2023 Firebird Fellowship cohort of the Academy of Impact through Music and, in the same year, had the opportunity to work with a community youth orchestra in Portugal, performing, teaching, and learning alongside the other fellows. She received coaching sessions from El Sistema leaders around the world and continues to benefit from these experiences.

Jessie first became interested in music as a vehicle for social change during her undergraduate studies and was overjoyed to become a Teaching Artist for Tocando Music Project in the spring of 2018. Since then, she has been named the Director of Tocando Programs and leads Tocando Teaching Artists who work with more than 60 students each year in El Paso’s Segundo Barrio and Tornillo. Jessie continues working with students four days each week and has high aspirations for Tocando and all the young musicians in the program.


Natalie Conover Ramos


Natalie Conover Ramos was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and discovered that there is way more to teaching music than just showing students how to play notes.  

With an immense passion for music education, performance, and as well as some music business, her career has found her in various places. She has been teaching since 2015 during her college years, and has been teaching ever since.  

Natalie has learned and grew in various organizations and institutions such as Trenton Music Makers (NJ), Settlement Music School (PA), The Princeton Junior school, and even larger festivals such as The Philadelphia International Music Festival as a Chamber Music Coach and administrator. Natalie has also participated as in multiple El Sistema USA seminars and institutes such as Understanding El-Sistema through the New England Conservatory, as well as received training in Trauma-Informed Teaching. During her times teaching and learning, the most important thing she learned was educating the whole student, and became very interested in using music education as a vehicle for social change, as well as develop skills in students such as self-confidence, critical thinking skills and problem solving, and even social skills; becoming a better human through music, and learning extremely important “people skills.” 

Though a classically trained musician, Natalie decided to take a slightly different direction with her freelance viola career after college which resulted in her appearing in ensembles and groups where you may not expect to find a violist. She has performed all over the country performing works by some familiar names such as Frank Zappa, David Bowie, The Specials, Astor Piazzola, and more in the modern genres, and even some heavy metal! Natalie does also have experience performing in chamber and symphony orchestras such as Berks Sinfonietta and the Monmouth Symphony Orchestra, and some “pop-up” orchestras for various events. On top of all it, she also runs her own business by providing entertainment to multiple kinds of events in the Philadelphia and El Paso areas.  

Natalie is extremely excited to be a part of Tocando Music Project, and work with her amazing colleagues and students to all together become better, and stronger humans. 

Teaching Artist Team


Ana María Quintero Muñoz



Ana María believes music education is an excellent conduit to develop creativity, critical thinking, and citizenship in young people. She feels honored to have the chance to be part of it in such worthy communities as El Paso and Tornillo.


Irving Cuellar



Irving believes the role of music education is to allow students the opportunity to find enjoyment of music through any chosen instrument. He is a strong believer that anyone can play an instrument. His goal as a teacher is to find the right instrument and enhance any students’ musical abilities.


Charlie Esparza



Vincent Arrieta

Minister of Rock & Roll


Vincent believes the creation and/or consumption and appreciation of music are the most distinctly important purposes of the human species, therefore music education is not only essential to the human experience, it enlightens and expands one’s ability to comprehend and enjoy life’s other elements such as compassion, optimism, critical thinking skills, problem solving skills, and mathematical thought processing.


Join Our Team!

Become a Volunteer

We look forward to learning about your interests and placing you as a Music Mentor, a Teaching Assistant, an academic tutor, or a special supporter in other projects and opportunities. Click below to fill out our online application. 

Interested in a Staff Position?

Please contact the Director of Tocando Programs to inquire about available opportunities within our program.