Great Graduates: UTSA grad overcomes challenges to achieve music degree

Antonio Zubillaga will return to UTSA in the fall to pursue his master’s

SAN ANTONIO – Born in Venezuela and one of 10 siblings, Antonio Zubillaga moved to the United States in 2003.

Graduating from the University of Texas at San Antonio is surreal for him.

This was his second attempt at college, after failing the first time back in 2010.

“I put in for my audition for the school of music and I never showed up, I parked in the parking lot and had everything ready, I just didn’t come in the building because I was too scared, so I enrolled in anthropology and started doing that kind of stuff and failed miserably,” Zubillaga said.

Zubillaga left UTSA and decided to join the workforce, working in many different jobs. Then, he went through one of the hardest times of his life.

“Unfortunately, I was involved in a lot of things and ended up in a really bad period of alcoholism and addiction,” he said. “I was very depressed; I wasn’t doing what I wanted to do which was music. So, when I got sober in 2017, I decided I was going to go back to school and pursue music.”

Coming from a family of musicians, Zubillaga says music has always been a part of his life and it played a huge part in his recovery.

“So, when I got sober, just being involved in music with the community and just using my instrument, singing, learning music ... it helped me heal,” Zubillaga said.

Throughout all the struggles and challenges he faces, he is proud to be crossing the stage with a degree in something he loves.

Zubillaga credits his family, friends and professors for believing in him.

He was accepted into UTSA’s master’s program of music in choral conducting. He plans on creating a San Antonio recovery choir with music to help those battling addiction.

About the Author

Katelyn Silva started her career at KSAT 12 in May 2022 as a producer trainee and is now a Good Morning San Antonio weekend producer. Katelyn is a San Antonio native and earned a communications degree from Texas A&M-San Antonio. Katelyn likes to practice yoga, bullet journal and hang out with family and friends in her free time.

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