Mr. Kevin Tinkle-Director of Bands, Garza High School

Mr. Kevin Tinkle is in his third year at Central Unified as the Director of Bands at Justin Garza High School. Prior to this position he was the Director of Instrumental Music at American Union Elementary and Assistant Director of Bands at Washington Union High School in the Washington Unified School District in Fresno. He started his career as the Director of Bands at Selma High School for nine years where his groups received numerous Superior ratings at CMEA Concert and Jazz Festivals as well as many high achievement awards from the Western Bands Association, SJVCGPR, and WGI. 

He received his Bachelor of Music in Music Education at San Diego State University and his single-subject teaching credential at CSU Sacramento. While studying at San Diego State University, Mr. Tinkle was a member of the Marching Aztecs, Jazz Band A, was principal trumpet in the Wind Symphony and Symphony Orchestra, as well as principal bass in Chamber Singers. 

As a performer, Mr. Tinkle has won a world championship with the Concord Blue Devils Drum and Bugle Corps, participated in the International Jazz Festival in Hawaii, and been part of numerous honor groups in California. He also plays guitar and has performed throughout California as a singer-songwriter and leader of various bands. 

Most recently, Mr. Tinkle earned his M.A. in Music Education at the American Band College of Central Washington University. In his free time, Mr. Tinkle enjoys listening to music, collecting records, writing songs, cooking, and spending time with his wife Emily and twin daughters, Grace and Elizabeth.

Blake McAllister is our JGHS Woodwind Technician and is a Fresno-based woodwind instrumentalist currently studying music at Fresno State. He attended high school at Bullard High School in Fresno, California where he participated in the wind ensemble, marching band, and jazz band. 

At Fresno State, Blake has performed with the Wind Orchestra, under the direction of Dr. Gary P. Gilroy, where he played bassoon and contrabassoon. He has also been a part of the Jazz Orchestra, under the direction of jazz bassist Richard Lloyd Giddens Jr. , as their baritone saxophonist. 

This year, Blake is one of the Fresno State Marching Band’s drum majors as well as one of the student directors for the scholarship ensemble, Bulldog Beat. He plans to continue his musical career after college by teaching and performing in the area.  

Matt Spencer is the Front Ensemble Caption Head at JGHS. This will be his first year as a music educator and will be working with our front ensemble and concert percussion students.

Matt is a student at Fresno State studying mechanical engineering and minoring in music. Throughout his musical career, Matt has performed with numerous percussion, wind, and marching ensembles as a percussionist and trombonist. He recently finished a season marching with the world class WGI group, Redwave Indoor Percussion. The group competed at various competitions throughout California and ended the season in Dayton, Ohio for WGI world championships. 

In the upcoming school year, Matt will be apart of the Bulldog Marching Band Front Ensemble at Fresno State. He also plans on completing another season with RedWave Indoor to gaining more experience as a performer and educator. 

Gabriel Hernandez is a graduate from Liberty High School in his hometown of Bakersfield, CA. He went to CSU Fresno, then finished his Bachelor’s degree in biology at Clarion University of Pennsylvania. 

Gabriel’s passion for the Colorguard/Winterguard art started in high school. After graduation he competed with numerous groups at local, Winter Guard International and Drum Corps International competitions. He started his teaching and choreography career helping with his local middle school in Bakersfield. After relocation to Fresno, Hernandez continued to teach at Fresno and Clovis Unified schools. Hernandez has been educating and promoting the perform art of Colorguard for over a decade. In his time, he has help lead multiple winning groups at both local and regional levels. Most recently at the South Valley Winterguard Arts Association with 2022 class champions Bullard High school.

When Gabriel is not educating on the art of Colorguard, he works as a substitute teacher. This is his first year with the Justin Garza High School Marching Band and couldn’t be more excited!

Omar Ruiz is our Brass Technician at JGHS. He is a graduate from Selma High School. He attended College of the Sequoias and will be transferring to Fresno State in Spring 2024 as a music major. Ruiz is a self-taught trumpet player and started studying trumpet professionally in college. His teachers consist of Dr. Nathan Sobieralski, Wayne Bergeron, Jennifer Locher, Paul Lujan, Charlie Porter, and Dr. George Dougherty. Ruiz has attended master classes held by Wayne Bergeron, Arturo Sandoval, and Tom Hooten.

Ruiz’s first taste of music was at age seven, his grandpa taught him how to play guitar. He later picked up the trumpet at age ten and has loved it ever since. Ruiz was principal trumpet at College of the Sequoias in the Jazz Band, Symphonic Band, and Symphonic Orchestra since 2019. He also volunteers his time at Fresno Pacific University and plays principle in Symphonic Band and 2nd chair in their brass ensemble. Ruiz has also played in a numerous musicals. He has played for High School Musical (2014), Little Women (FPU 2015), Swing! (Reedley River City Theatre, 2018), Beauty and the Beast (COS 2022), The Music Man (TCOE Theatre Company, 2022), and On Your Feet! (Selma Art Center 2023). 

Ruiz also plays professionally with La Rugidora Banda Revolution de Fresno and consistently gigs on weekends. Ruiz wants to continue studying music, play professionally, and pursue music education. He hopes to help his students grow and understand music on a different level.