Baritone Alan Saldaña-Silva Graduates and Sings Praises for Music Program
Senior B.A. Music major Alan Saldaña-Silva is a talented baritone who loves singing opera and oratorio. He will continue his vocal training at Baylor University as a graduate student on a full tuition scholarship next fall.
While in college at the University of St. Thomas-Houston, Saldaña-Silva served as a staff cantor at St. Anne's Catholic Church nearby. The heartfelt experience is part of him now.
"It has been such a wonderful experience," he said. "My director and music mentor there, Dr. Thomas Jaber is an incredible musician who has encouraged me to go after my goals and sing marvelously for every liturgy we get assigned."
This first-generation, soon-to-be college graduate was born in Ciudad Madero, Tamaulipas, Mexico; raised in Matamoros, Tamaulipas, a border town across from Brownsville, Texas; then moved to Houston in 2009 to graduate from Jersey Village High School in 2012.
Saldaña-Silva is the first to pursue music as a career in his family.
"I have always had a passion for classical singing and its repertoire, and opera is something I love both as a fan and a performer," he said.
Holding on to that desire, he headed to the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana to pursue his dream career in music. Mid-stream, he transferred home to the UST for financial reasons.
"UST offered me a good financial aid package to continue my studies, something I did not have in my former school," he said. "The UST Music Program allowed me to grow as a person and musician under the instruction of incredible music faculty."
At UST's Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, May 14, at 11 a.m. in NRG Stadium, Saldaña-Silva will walk across the stage to receive his Bachelor of Arts in Music. He will join 530 of his undergraduate peers and 444 graduate students in celebrating their achievements. After commencement, he will have the wonderful memory of listening to Grammy Award® winner Ana María Martínez, one of the foremost sopranos of her time, when she takes the stage as UST's Commencement speaker.
With affection and admiration, Saldaña-Silva described his excellent experience studying music at UST.
"UST's music program pushed me to become a better singer and musician each day and nurtured my artistry and creative process to a new level," he said. "This Music Program is a hidden gem among big programs in the Houston metropolitan area. Big enough to take over large projects and small enough to get one-on-one attention and quality education. He cites his mentor, Dr. Brady Knapp, as a professor who guided me in my journey as a singer, giving me great advice for what is next in emerging artists' career goals."
This positive guidance from Knapp kept Saldaña-Silva focused during those uncertain times of attending college during a worldwide COVID-19 pandemic when he worried about what would happen in the music industry. Soon he realized that "God truly blesses us to persevere in the face of adversity." With hope alive in his heart, Saldaña-Silva's next step is to attend Baylor University in Waco, Texas, to pursue a graduate degree in music. Baylor offered him full tuition and a graduate teaching assistantship.
Knapp has no doubts about Saldaña-Silva.
"He is a formidable talent who recently made the semifinals at the National Association of Teachers of Singing competition,” Knapp said.
Saldaña-Silva is well on the road to a beautiful musical career.