By Joey Gomez
McALLEN, Texas – South Texas College percussionist Gabriel Renner has made Rio Grande Valley history as the first- ever student from the region to be named Percussive Arts Society (PASIC) International Champion.
Renner, 19, who is currently pursuing an associate degree in Interdisciplinary Studies at STC and a second-generation drummer – took first place at PASIC in Indianapolis earlier this month. Renner follows in his father’s footsteps as another championship drummer.
Renner competed in the university snare division at the convention, which is one of the largest drum and percussion events in the world.
Competing schools included institutions with top music programs including the University of North Texas, Brigham Young University, Coastal Carolina University, West Chester University and Southern Arkansas University.
“I didn’t really process it for a while because I knew how big this was going to be, and then to be named champion was the most unexpected thing for me. I knew there was just so many people out there who were really, really good,” Renner said. “Through all the countless nights practicing and just ramming, trying to get this done. It was professor (Ron) Schermerhorn who told me to just get out there and show the world what I was all about. I just went out and did it.”
It was the second time Renner had competed at PASIC. He first attended the convention in 2022 but didn’t place. When he returned after a year, Renner said his experience as a part of STC’s Percussion Snare Ensemble, non-stop practicing and Schermerhorn’s mentorship proved to be the main factors in his success.
“I just bought in. I put my full trust in Schermerhorn, and it really worked out. He helped me march in the snare ensemble, he helped me compete at PASIC twice now, and he has helped me through a lot,” Renner said. “He’s my mentor and he pointed me in the right direction and gave me the resources to do well.”
STC’s drumline comprised of Renner, Jason Garcia and Sahak Sandragorsian placed second overall in the Collegiate Snare Ensemble Competiton at PASIC and came away with the highest score STC has ever recorded since it began competing at the convention in 2015.
“I’m so proud of Gabriel for his solo win in the Collegiate Marching Snare Drum Competition at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention in Indianapolis,” said Schermerhorn. “Gabriel is a shining star in music, percussion and drums. I am honored to be his mentor and excited as he takes the next step on his musical journey.”