Wednesday, October 5, 2022
  Awards and Recognitions

By News and Internal Communications

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, TEXAS – Months of preparation and practicing the music all paid off this past August for UTRGV music education major Victor Cruz. 

The Edinburg resident earned gold in the Tuba - Student Division at the 2022 Leonard Falcone International Euphonium-Tuba Festival – the first UTRGV student to bring home a win from the prestigious competition.

The Leonard Falcone International Euphonium and Tuba Festival competition was created in 1986 for both student- and artist-level euphonium performers, and the event evolved into a true festival in 1991 with the expansion of its sponsoring committee.

The festival is held for four days each summer at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp in Twin Lake, Michigan.

In addition to the competition, participants are offered the opportunity to attend master classes and recitals provided by internationally recognized euphonium and tuba artists.

Cruz, a UTRGV sophomore, started preparing for the competition in February, with preliminary round recordings due March 31. He prepped two pieces for the round, then two more for the semifinals.

“After I found out I had made the semifinals, I prepared three pieces for the rest of the spring semester and most of the summer,” he said. “Throughout the summer, I had two lessons a week with my professor, and I practiced extensively every day.”


Cruz has been a tuba player since sixth grade, about eight years now. He had some familiarity with competitions in high school and a regional conference in Oklahoma, but some friends who previously had competed in the Falcone festival gave him the nudge he needed to participate.

“They convinced me to give it a try,” he said. “I also wanted to see what my capabilities were and, overall, I wanted to become a better musician. I feel like the process really helped me achieve these goals.”

Dr. Scott Roeder, UTRGV professor of tuba and euphonium, was Cruz’s mentor and professor while he prepped for the big competition. Roeder said Cruz is the first UTRGV student to bring home the win for the university at this competition.

“Victor is one of the most hardworking students I’ve taught. He’s humble and gets to work to the best of his ability,” Roeder said. “He worked incredibly hard for this competition. We met twice a week over the summer to prepare. He put in the time and was successful.”

Recognitions and awards like the Falcone speak volumes about the great programs UTRGV is providing.

“It shows the fantastic things happening at the UTRGV School of Music, and that the level of our students is on par with anyone,” Roeder said.

Cruz said he feels honored to be the first student at UTRGV to win the Falcone, especially because they were competing against big schools like the University of Michigan.

He said he is grateful for the experience and appreciates all the support offered by his fellow musicians and mentors.

“I would like to say that we are all very capable of many great things at our School of Music,” he said. “We have some great musicians here, and it will not take long for the world to know more about us.”

Visit Falcone Festival to learn more about the competition and history.


The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) was created by the Texas Legislature in 2013 as the first major public university of the 21st century in Texas. This transformative initiative provided the opportunity to expand educational opportunities in the Rio Grande Valley, including a new School of Medicine, and made it possible for residents of the region to benefit from the Permanent University Fund – a public endowment contributing support to the University of Texas System and other institutions.

UTRGV has campuses and off-campus research and teaching sites throughout the Rio Grande Valley including in Boca Chica Beach, Brownsville (formerly The University of Texas at Brownsville campus), Edinburg (formerly The University of Texas-Pan American campus), Harlingen, McAllen, Port Isabel, Rio Grande City, and South Padre Island. UTRGV, a comprehensive academic institution, enrolled its first class in the fall of 2015, and the School of Medicine welcomed its first class in the summer of 2016.