Director of Orchestras
Degrees and Certifications:
Mr. Gabriel Balderrama
Mr. Balderrama (Mr. B) is a violinist, violist, electric bassist, conductor, composer and arranger for the past 21 years. Previously, Mr. B was the director of Lee Middle School in San Angelo, Texas where he led the orchestra to many distinctions including: 2017 UIL Stage Superior Rating, 2017 Bluebonnet Classic Festival Superior Rating and Outstanding Performance, 2018 Bluebonnet Classic Superior Rating, 2019 UIL Sweepstakes, and 2019 Soundwaves Festival Superior Rating, Outstanding Performance, and Best in Class. He also served as the Vice President of the Concho Valley Youth Orchestra for two years teaching students from grades 7-12 back in 2018 and 2019.
Mr. B has been the orchestra director of San Marcos High School since the fall of 2019, leading the orchestra groups to many awards and recognitions such as: 2020 UIL Varsity 6A String Orchestra Sweepstakes, 2020 UIL Non-Varsity 6A String Orchestra Sweepstakes, 2020 UIL Varsity 6A Full Orchestra Superior Rating in Sight-Reading, and 2021 UIL Non-Varsity 6A Combined Orchestra Sweepstakes. Mr. B has also coached several students that qualified and earned Superior ratings for UIL State Solo and Ensemble in 2020 and 2021.
Mr. B graduated from the University of Texas at San Antonio in the Fall of 2014 with a Bachelor's degree in Music Education studying with renowned professors Dr. Eugene Dowdy and Dr. Kristen Pellegrino, and taking private lessons on the violin with Dr. Stephanie Westney. Mr. B was a member and manager of the UTSA Orchestra, where he got the opportunity to perform in Venice, Florence and Rome, Italy in 2012 and with the rock band Kansas in 2011 at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. He was also a member of the UTSA Opera Orchestra in 2011 and 2014 performing on electric bass in "Secret Garden" and violin in "The Mikado". Mr. B was also invited by the San Antonio Symphony to participate in their “Pro-Am” program, where he got the opportunity to play with members of the San Antonio Symphony under the direction of Sebastian Lang-Lessing playing “The Planets” Symphonic Suite in 2013.
Mr. B is a part of the Texas Music Educators Association, Texas Orchestra Directors Association, and the American String Teachers Association where he stays up to date with teaching strategies for the orchestra to constantly perform at the highest levels.
In his free time, Mr. B plays electric bass with the Freedom Praise Band. They have released two albums, "Free" and "In Need of a Savior", on Spotify and other various streaming services. The Freedom Praise Band has played at various venues around the San Antonio area and have been invited by Sam Ash Music to play at their "Longest Day" fundraiser event the past 4 years benefitting the research of a cure for Alzheimer's disease. He is also an avid fan of video games and basketball.
Philosophy for the San Marcos High School Orchestra Program
I want to pass on the love of music that I hold near and dear to my heart to my students so they can go out and have fun making and listening to music as much as I do. When enrolled in the orchestra program, you will learn several integral lessons that you can use in your everyday life such as discipline, the value of hard work, having a positive outlook, responsibility, uniformity, being a role model etc. through these main points:
- Develop a sense of importance of music in the life of each student
- Develop self-confidence and self-discipline in each student through positive interaction with teachers and peers
- Develop the musical potential of each student to the fullest
- Develop student understanding of stylistic traits of different periods of music
- Develop self-expression and creativity through practice and performance
- Develop the highest possible standards of performance for each student in the program
- Learn proper concert etiquette through participation in and attendance at live performances
- Develop the ability to work in a group as a team for a common goal
- Represent our school and community in a positive manner
Through these main goals, I hope that all my students not only become great musicians, but learn the qualities of how to be a good person and a future leader in our society.