Why You Should Join a Music Group at PUC

By Andrea James

PUC boasts many great music ensembles. We enjoy their performances every quarter, but most of us don’t participate in a music group. After all, why should we sacrifice our precious free time? I asked Kayley Wilson, a junior English major and member of both I Cantori and Chorale, for her answer and a few other questions about music at PUC.

“The payoff is great. There have been times where I’ve been thinking, ‘Man, I could be working on a paper right now.’ But there have been so many times when I’ve walked out going, ‘Wow. I am so less stressed about what was bothering me.’ I feel better … Singing is healthy. It causes you to breathe really deeply … Psychologically, physically it’s good for you. Even though there have been times when I’m like, ‘I could be doing something else,’ I feel it benefits me in so many ways. It’s not something I’m willing to give up, you know? It does limit your time sometimes. If you’re just in Chorale, a couple weekends a year you’re singing. It’s really not that much. I think it’s worth it.”

Why do you have such a high opinion of singing?
“There’s something so powerful about this big group of people all thinking about the same thing and focusing on the same thing when we live in this world where there’s so much division. It’s really a beautiful thing to be able to come together and do that.

Music relaxes me. It allows me to step outside of the daily struggles and focus on something I love. I love that a lot of it’s worship music and I love doing that. It’s an escape; it’s worship. I just think it’s really valuable … I also feel like whatever gift you’ve been given, doing it well is an act of worship … When I was in high school, I came from a Waldorf school and it wasn’t Christian, and now I go to this school where my professor is saying, ‘We’re singing the Bible; we’re singing Scripture.’ Literally, singing Scripture! He said, ‘When I’m conducting, I’m praying. My heart is in it; my soul is in it. I want you to think about singing in a choir as your personal worship time. You’re not performing for other people; you’re giving back to God.’ That really, really stuck with me.”

Why do you think people are hesitant to join music groups?
“Well, for one I think a lot of people are scared of joining music groups because they’re scared they don’t have the ability. The thing is, no one expects you to come in knowing everything. That’s why there’s an instructor.

If you like music, what kind of music are you interested in? Don’t think that ‘Oh, well, this was written in 1500sI’m not going to like that.’ You don’t know unless you’ve tried singing it, unless you’ve sat down and listened to it. It doesn’t have to be choirthat’s my background, but I have friends who are in Symphonic Wind Ensemble and they just have a blast. They’re always doing some really interesting pieces. I think it really builds communityreally, really builds community. It’s typical that you’re going to know more people within your department because you have events to go to and classes with all those people, but when you’re in a music ensemble, you also get to meet people from all over who maybe you wouldn’t have encountered otherwise and you’re all coming together for one common goal. I just think that’s so cool.

ensemble

One thing I think is really neat about being in an ensemble is that if you don’t feel confident, you’ve got a lot of people behind you. There’s something really beautiful about that unity; that we may not all sound amazing by ourselves, but we’re stronger and more powerful together.”

So, consider joining one of the music groups on campus and be part of a community, worshipping and singing together. Here’s a list of some of the larger ensembles at PUC:

  • Big Band–Rehearses and performs big band jazz. The group focuses on the development of reading and improvisation skills.
  • ChoralePerforms both sacred and secular music, in diverse styles and from many periods. It’s a large mixed chorus open to all students, faculty, and staff. The group normally performs one piece with the orchestra each year. There are auditions each quarter; however, membership for the whole school year is preferred.
  • Gospel ChoirExtensively surveys religious music from African-American worship experiences.
  • Handbell Choir–Performs every quarter, both on and off campus. There are two levels of handbell choir: The beginning choir is open to any student who can read music; the advanced handbell choir is for ringing level three music and above.
  • I CantoriPerforms both sacred and secular music. It’s a mixed-voice chamber ensemble for voice majors and other serious vocal students. It’s also a major touring ensemble and has a full performance schedule, including off campus tours. The director holds auditions at the beginning of fall quarter and year-long membership is required. Students in I Cantori are also required to register for Chorale.
  • Introductory String EnsemblePerforms music at the level of the group. The ensemble focuses on developing technique, musicianship, and ensemble skills.
  • OrchestraPerforms masterworks in concerts every quarter and at other events, both on and off campus. It’s for advanced string, wind, and brass players. The group often collaborates with soloists and other ensembles.
  • Praise Teams/Bands–There are opportunities to perform at both vespers and the PUC Church service Sabbath morning. Contact the religious vice president in the Student Association or the church office to learn more. You can also read our post “(P)Raise the Roof” for some thoughts on being part of a praise band at PUC.
  • Symphonic Wind Ensemble–Performs a diverse selection of music in a wide variety of settings and is for advanced instrumentalists. Tours and workshops occur on alternate years.

praise-band

How to Overcome Homesickness

By Andrea James

Dealing with homesickness is a huge part of being a college student. Most people get hit with it at some point (or even at several points) during their academic career. After a little while, homesickness usually goes away. Despite how it seems in the moment, you will not feel this way forever. Still, homesickness can be rough, so here are a few tips to help you cope when a wave of homesickness bowls you over. First, though, I want to say that it’s okay to feel this way. It’s normal; it’s natural. You are jumping into a whole lot of new things at once, and that can be terrifying and very unsettling. It’s okay to be afraid. It’s okay to miss your life back home, but there are lots of great things college has to offer! College is full of amazing people and experiences that will stick with you for the rest of your life. There will be bad experiences and you will meet not-so-nice people as well, but hopefully the good will outweigh the bad in the end. You don’t want to miss those good experiences or amazing people because you were locked up in your room all the time. Instead:

  1. Try to figure out what’s hitting you the hardest, what you miss the most. If it’s the faces of your friends and family, then maybe you can set up a weekly Skype date. If you really miss your room back at home, then try to add a touch of familiar comfort to your dorm room. For example, you could buy the same detergent you use at home so your sheets smell the same. If you miss your pets, have your family include them in the aforementioned Skype calls, or you can visit the local animal shelter and cover yourself in kittens and puppies for an hour. There are also a lot of animal-related livestreams available online for free. Do what you can to attack the ‘triggers’ (so to speak) and root out the homesickness at the source.
  2. Get out of your room and out of your head. Join a club (Read our post “So Many Clubs, So Little Time!” to see what clubs are at PUC), get a job on campus, participate in a study group, or just go for a walk with a friend. Don’t isolate yourself; it will only make things worse. This doesn’t mean you have to go to every SA event or can never “me time.” Just make sure you spend some time outside enjoying PUC’s beauty or talk with a friend every once in awhile.
  3. Be kind with yourself, and patient. Most of the time homesickness doesn’t disappear in a single day; it takes a little while. Give yourself time to adjust. Don’t pile on eight classes and three clubs your first quarter—get used to the workload first, and then you can commit to way too many things like everyone else.
  4. Talk to someone who’s going through the same thing. It will help you not to feel so alone. You can share family stories and pictures of your cats!

Finally, make sure what you’re feeling is really homesickness and not actual depression. Talk to one of PUC’s counselors (it’s free!). Even if it isn’t depression, they can give you proper professional advice and techniques for dealing with homesickness and whatever else you may be going through.

Editor’s note: You can contact our Career & Counseling Center at counseling@puc.edu or at (707) 965-7080 or learn more on their website.

Use PUC’s Net Price Calculator!

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Worried about affording college? Find out what you may qualify for!

Did you know 100 percent of PUC’s traditional undergraduate students receive financial aid? Last year, over $40 million was awarded to our 1,600 students based not only on merit, but leadership, Christian service, and much more. See a full list of PUC scholarships at puc.edu/scholarships.

PUC is committed to making a high-quality Christ-centered education possible. To find out how much aid you may qualify for, use our net price calculator to receive a preliminary estimate of your aid eligibility, including grants, loans, and PUC scholarships.

It takes less than 10 minutes—start now!

Five Financial Things You Can Do Now

The fall is always a busy time of year for high school students (and their parents!) as they finish their college applications and start to work on determining how much financial aid they’re eligible for. This year in particular can be stressful, with new changes to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), more information about which can be found at puc.edu/financeresources. The following is a short list to help keep you on track now that FAFSA has opened—it’s time to get ready for next year!

Apply to college

  • If you haven’t already, apply to PUC at puc.edu/apply
  • Be sure to list your Social Security Number so PUC can access your FAFSA
  • Send in your transcripts and one letter of reference

Submit the FAFSA
(Starting October 1)

  • Get your FSA ID at fsaid.ed.gov, which will serve as your legal signature when you submit the FAFSA; your parents should get one too
  • Start your FAFSA at fafsa.gov—have income information from the previous tax year available to refer back to
  • Be sure to include PUC’s school code (001258) to have your data sent to PUC
  • List at least one in-state college, otherwise you may be ineligible to apply for Cal Grant (CA residents only)
  • Sign your FAFSA with both your FSA ID and your parent’s ID; keep proof of completion

Submit a GPA verification form to the California Student Aid Commission
(
March 2 deadline)

  • Both this form (available at csac.ca.gov) and your FAFSA are required by March 2 to apply for Cal Grant (CA residents only)
  • Be sure to get proof of mailing from the Post Office

Talk with a PUC financial counselor

Search for scholarships

  • See what PUC offers at puc.edu/scholarships (March 2 deadline)
  • A helpful list of external scholarship websites is available at puc.edu/outsidescholarships
  • Don’t limit your search to just online; check local organizations like Kiwanis, Rotary, and your chamber of commerce to see what they offer
  • Ask your PUC financial counselor for ideas of where else to look