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How the Symphony Harmonized my Life and Career

Testimony by: Moses Valdez



I was born in the southside of San Antonio, where I was raised by my maternal grandmother, Mary Pacheo, along with my two older siblings. Growing up in the 1980s and early 1990s, there was a financial struggle for my family. We had few resources, and we lacked support from any extended family. However, I was always taught by my grandmother that with discipline and hard work, you would be led to a better life. I have lived my life under those principles and have always excelled in school.


I graduated from Harlandale High School in 1994 and ranked 7th out of 365 students. My passion was music and I spent numerous hours perfecting my craft and in practice with the Harlandale “Million Dollar Band”. I was very fortunate to receive numerous awards for music and I wanted to pursue music at the next level. My former music teacher, Victor Alvarado, recommended that I pursue private lessons during my Freshman year of high school to prepare for college auditions. This is when I encountered Bill Patterson, a San Antonio Symphony percussionist. Bill was a blessing in my life to take me under his wing and believed in my talent. He did not judge me because of where I came from and saw the full potential for my future. Of course, money was very limited, but Bill understood my economic background and helped me pursue scholarship opportunities for private lessons. I studied with Bill through my four years in high school. One of my goals at the time was to get accepted into the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music located in South Florida. This is one of the top Music Schools in the country. Bill helped me to believe in myself. He helped me realize that I had the potential to succeed in anything despite my background. Four years after starting lessons with Bill, I was accepted into the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami. I graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Music in 1998 and joined the United States Air Force Band of the West where I spent five years traveling around the world performing for presidents, dignitaries, and civilian audiences. During my time with the Air Force, I completed my Graduate Studies at Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri, and graduated with a Master’s Degree in Business Administration. I decided to retire from the Air Force in 2003 to pursue my financial career. I spent the next 17 years with Citibank North America working both domestically and internationally while being part of one of the largest financial corporations in the world. I have managed the Banking, Credit Card, and Collections Portfolios. Today, in 2022, I have been with USAA Savings Federal Bank for two years and am about to embark on the next step of my career by opening my first franchise, The Buffalo Spot. All of this success can be attributed to hard work and the work ethic that Bill and music instilled in me from a young age. He was a huge resource for me with all the things I learned from him. There are many great symphony teachers that help students improve their lives whether it's music or learning life skills such as critical thinking or perseverance. Our San Antonio Symphony is not an organization that just performs music. The musicians do so much for our city whether it’s teaching or their community outreach. I am one of many students that have benefited from their mentorship programs. We cannot allow the mismanagement of this great organization to continue. Those that think the orchestra is only for the rich and famous completely miss the point of what these organizations are capable of. I am so grateful for those resources that were made available to me and how they propelled my life and career. We must continue to support our Symphony as it continues to influence our youth and many generations to come. ​ -Moses Valdez

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