Meet the Director - Orchestra
Daniel Valdez is the Ballard High School Director of Orchestras. In addition to directing orchestras, he is a bass player, recently moved to Seattle from Chicago. Mr. Valdez has been directing orchestra programs for over 10 years. He has led successful programs in the San Francisco, Austin, Houston, and Chicago areas. Each orchestra he has led demonstrated musical excellence in a variety of competitions, festivals, clinics, and concerts. Daniel earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Double Bass Performance from the University of California at Santa Cruz, and a Master of Music and Human Learning degree from the University of Texas at Austin.
Daniel is originally from Northern California, where his first introduction to performing music was playing electric bass in a garage band with his friends. Immediately falling in love and wanting to learn more, he began studying jazz with a private tutor, eventually transitioning to the double bass and focusing more on performing classical music with orchestras. He has a deep passion for all forms of music and loves nothing more than sharing that with others.
A string orchestra comprised of students who play violin, viola, cello, or bass. All incoming freshmen begin in this group unless they choose to audition for Symphonic or Chamber Orchestra. This class is also open to beginners. This class will focus on nuts and bolts skills review, will perform a variety of music for string orchestra and will perform at our Fall, Winter, and Spring Concerts. Concert Orchestra members will attend the fall retreat with Symphonic and Chamber Orchestra members.
An auditioned string orchestra comprised of students who play violin, viola, cello, or bass. This is an intermediate level group that will perform a wide array of string orchestra literature, ranging from Baroque to contemporary. Symphonic Orchestra combines with members of the band and choir for a winter masterwork performance, participates in chamber technique instruction, and performs at the Fall, Winter, and Spring Concerts. Symphonic Orchestra will attend the fall retreat with Concert and Chamber Orchestras and compete at regional festivals. Seating and section leader auditions will take place at the beginning of each school year. There may be regional or national a spring trip scheduled, depending on the year.
In auditioned chamber orchestra comprised of students who play violin, viola, cello, or bass. This is a highly selective and motivated group of string players. Chamber Orchestra performs a rigorous array of string orchestra literature ranging from Baroque to contemporary. Chamber Orchestra combines with members of the band and choir for a winter masterwork performance, participates in chamber technique instruction/ coaching from local experts, and performs at the Fall,Winter, and Spring Concerts. ChamberOrchestra will attend the fall retreat with Concert and Symphonic Orchestras and compete at regional festivals. Over the course of the year, students will form small ensembles (trios, quartets, etc.) for various gig performance opportunities. There may be a regional, national, or international spring trip scheduled, depending on the year. Seating and section leader auditions will take place at the beginning of each school year.
Ballard High Fiddlers
The Fiddlers ensemble is comprised of students who play the violin, viola, cello, bass, guitar, mandolin etc. Fiddlers members work to refine their improvisational skills, learn music in an aural tradition, and perform authentic American roots music by arranging traditional tunes of the American Roots and Jazz repertoire. The Fiddlers ensemble performs at school concerts and special events and is available for private performances throughout the year.
During the 2022/2023 school year, the fiddle ensemble will meet weekly on Mondays from 6:00 to 7:30pm in the main band/orchestra rehearsal room starting Monday, October 10th. The new instructor this year is Kat Bula.