ADAM PEZDEK Director
Mr. Pezdek, a native of San Diego, is the Director of Bands and Orchestra Director at Valhalla High School in El Cajon, CA. He received a Bachelor of Music from Thomas Edison State College in Trenton, NJ, and a Master of Arts in Teaching from Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, CA. Adam previously taught Band and Choir at West Hills High School in Santee, CA, General Music at Eastlake Elementary School in Chula Vista, CA, Wind Band at the San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory, and worked as a Brass Tech for Gold Drum and Bugle Corps. In addition to teaching, Mr. Pezdek spent 22 years in the United States Marine Corps as a Marine Musician and performed on trombone, piano, and as a conductor throughout the country as well as Japan, Germany, Kuwait and Australia. As an arranger he has arranged over 200 pieces for Marine Corps Bands, scored music for the 2009 Presidential Inauguration and has created arrangements for Aretha Franklin, Ryan Anthony, Bones Apart, and the Chicago run of the musical “First Wives Club.” Adam currently serves as the Pianist and Worship Leader at First Baptist Church of Lemon Grove.
Mr. Casey Hernandez, an East San Diego County native and graduate of Valhalla High School, has been serving as the Assistant Director of the Valhalla Instrumental Music Program since 2015. He currently teaches the Beginning/Intermediate Orchestra Class, coaches Valhalla Vanguard, and is the Assistant Conductor of the Advanced Orchestra and Wind Ensemble. Mr. Hernandez is also a graduate of Hillsdale Middle School, where he works as the Orchestra and Choir Director, and Assistant Band Director, along with teaching a rapidly growing Elementary Orchestra program within the Cajon Valley Union School. He began his teaching and conducting career in 2009 when he led the Valhalla High School Chamber Choir at the University of San Diego Choral Festival and shortly after worked as a Brass Tech at Steele Canyon High School. Casey is also a Bass Trombonist, and has performed throughout San Diego in various community bands and pit orchestras, he can currently be seen performing under the direction of Mr. Roy Anthony, with the San Diego Concert Band.
Color Guard Caption Head
Giovanni has been the Color Guard Caption Head at Valhalla High School since the fall of 2017. He is a graduate of Helix High School, where he played Euphonium and performed with the Color Guard. Giovanni has performed as a guard member with the Independent Guards Lealta (2005) and Aztec Winter Guard (2005/06), as well as several Drum and Bugle Corps, to include Esperanza (2003/04), Blue Devils (2006), and SoCal Dream (2008/09). He also performed with the San Diego State Marching Aztecs from 2003-2008 and graduated from there with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. Giovanni has coached several San Diego are high school Color Guards to include Helix, El Capitan, West Hills, Grossmont, Scripps Ranch, and Bonita Vista. He is a founding member of Alchemy Independent, where he continues to coach, along with teaching Color Guard at Gold Drum and Bugle Corps. Giovanni currently works as a Social Services Coordinate for San Diego County, a position he has held since 2012.
Alyssa has been working as our Color Guard Tech since the fall of 2017. She is a graduate of Grossmont High School, where she was the Guard Captain for over three years, and has taught at several Grossmont Union High School District schools, to include Mt. Miguel, Grossmont, West Hills, and Valhalla. Alyssa is currently starting her fourth season with Alchemy Independent, having served as the Guard Captain in 2017, and attending Grossmont Community College to become a Sports Medicine Therapist.
Percussion Caption Head
Jake has been the Percussion Caption Head at Valhalla High School since 2017. He also serves as the Battery Caption Head at Scripps Ranch High School and a percussion judge for the Southwest Judges Network. Jake has taught percussion and visuals at several San Diego area high schools, to include San Ysidro, Monte Vista, El Capitan, Granite Hills, West Hills, and Grossmont. He also performed for on Snare and Tenor Drum with the San Diego State Marching Aztecs from 2009-2011. Jake graduated from Colorado State University in July of 2018 with a Bachelor's Degree in Communications, and is endorsed by Vic Firth Sticks and Mallets, and Zildjian Cymbals.
Front Ensemble Tech
Jake Gamelin started working as the Valhalla Front Ensemble Tech during the Winter Percussion season in the spring of 2018. He is from Chino Hills, California, and graduated from Chino Hills High School. Jake also works as the Front Ensemble Tech for El Capitan High School and Scripps Ranch High School, he also instructed at Grossmont High School in the fall of 2017. He has performed with the Chino Hills Marching Band and Indoor Drumline, and has won 8 gold and silver medals from ADLA, SCPA, and WGI Drumline Championships. Jake graduated from San Diego State University in December of 2017 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Composition, and has composed Marching Band and Drumline music for both El Capitan and Valhalla High School.
Gabriel has been working as the Snare Tech at Valhalla High School since the fall of 2018. He was a member of Valhalla Vanguard from 2012-2018 and has performed with several ensembles within the Valhalla Instrumental Music Program. Gabriel marched with the DCI Open Class Corps, Watchmen, during the summer of 2016, and Gold, in 2017 and 2018, where he marched Center Snare. Gabriel is currently attending Cuyamaca Community College.
Bryce joined the Valhalla Instrumental team during the Winter Percussion season in the spring of 2018 where he served as the Tenor Tech, and now continues to teach during the fall season as well. He is from Bakersfield, CA and graduated from Bakersfield High School. In addition to teaching Tenor Drum at Valhalla, Bryce works as a Competitive Sport Supervisor for Aztec Recreation at San Diego State University, where he is pursuing a degree in Mathematics. Bryce spent three years marching with the Open Class Drum Corps, Golden Empire, and has performed with The Bakersfield Indoor Drumline and POW Percussion.
Winter Percussion Visual Tech
Jessica DuBose, a San Diego native, has been serving as the Cymbal Tech and Winter Percussion Visual Tech at Valhalla High School since 2017. She also teaches Visual at Patrick Henry and University City High School, Cymbals at Mira Mesa High School, and works as the Social Media Manager for POW Percussion. Jessica has also taught Cymbals at several Southern California high schools: Mission Hills, Eastlake, and Glendora. She has performed with Dark Sky Percussion (Cymbals), Pulse Percussion (Visual Ensemble), and The San Diego State Marching Aztecs (Cymbals). Jessica is a graduate of Patrick Henry High School and earned a degree in Marketing from San Diego State University.