Category Archives: My PUC Story

Faces of PUC: Nephtali Marin

Nephtali Marin has been at PUC for the past four years seeking a BFA in film and tends to leave a lasting impression on everyone he meets. While forgetting him is not likely to happen, he wanted to make sure he didn’t slip your mind while he spends the year serving as a student missionary in Brazil. They say absence makes the heart grow fonder but just in case you’re starting to forget our friend Nephta, or haven’t had the pleasure of meeting him just yet, we asked him a couple of questions to help everyone get to know him better. And since he’s busy acclimating to life in a different country, try not to judge him for his short answers (even though we might just a little🤣). 

What is your dream job?

DoP (Director of Photography) for narrative films. But honestly, I’m still figuring this out …

How does that compare to what you wanted to be when you were young?

Well, I wanted to be a doctor so I’d say it’s pretty different. I probably won’t be saving lives, but hey you never know! 

What is your favorite thing about being a part of the Pioneers family?

We are all equal. Whether you are a 4th year, 1st year, or faculty, I’ve never felt like there is a hierarchy. We all experience similar ups and downs which help us become close.  

Where is your favorite place in the world?

My Abuelitas house on thanksgiving. 

What show are you binge-watching right now?

My Hero Academia 

What is something you’re passionate about?

Making people laugh.

Recommend a place in the Bay Area to visit on a weekend.

Dolores Park in San Francisco. 

 

Visit PUC This Winter!

Choosing what college to attend is a very important decision and one you shouldn’t make without doing a lot of research. There really is no better way to research colleges than by seeing the campus yourself. Grab your family or some friends and come visit PUC. Take a campus tour given by one of our student ambassadors, sit in on a class, chat with a professor, eat in our cafeteria, walk around the charming nearby towns of St. Helena or Calistoga, AND if you plan in advance, join us for any of the following upcoming and exciting events.

Pioneers Athletics Games

PUC has six varsity sports teams: cross country, basketball, and volleyball for women; and cross country, basketball, and soccer for men. Throughout the year, we invite you to our gymnasium, nicknamed the “Covered Wagon,” or our soccer field to join the Pioneers Posse and cheer on our teams. Here’s a short list of a few upcoming games; for the full schedule, visit pioneersathletics.com

  • Men’s Basketball vs La Sierra, Dec. 19, 7 p.m.
  • Women’s Basketball vs La Sierra, Jan. 9, 5:30 p.m.
  • Men’s Basketball vs La Sierra, Jan. 9, 7:30 p.m.

76685571_2976103175752109_5031936087166025728_o

Rasmussen Art Gallery Openings

If you’re interested in seeing some incredible works of art, you won’t want to miss the Rasmussen Art Gallery. Several times a quarter, a new exhibit opens at the college’s on-campus art gallery, which often features students, faculty, and other local artists. The opening reception is a chance to meet the artists, mingle with other guests, and enjoy some tasty snacks while appreciating the talent on display. If you can’t make it to one of the opening receptions, check with your tour guide to be sure to stop by and spend some time browsing during regular open hours. 

  •  Natalie Ciccoricco, Awaking West, Jan. 11-Feb. 9
  • Faculty Art Show, Literatura, Feb. 15-March 15 

For more information, visit the Rasmussen Art Gallery Facebook page

73291061_10157550563714004_661271452862906368_o

Paulin Hall Music Concerts

PUC’s department of music has many concerts throughout the year; all of which are free to the public. The college has several ensembles that frequently perform, and there are usually multiple student recitals each quarter. For the Christmas holiday, there are several concerts we hope you can join us for! 

  • Christmas Candlelight Concert #1, Friday, Dec. 6, 8 p.m.
  • Christmas Candlelight Concert #2, Saturday, Dec. 7, 4 p.m.

Contact the department of music for more information; call (707) 965-6201 or email music@puc.edu.

music

Join Us For February College Days!

Several times a year, we host special visitation events called College Days. College Days is a jam-packed event where you will experience PUC with other visiting students. In addition to campus visit standards like touring the campus, talking with a professor in your major of interest, and eating in our Dining Commons, it’s a great opportunity to get a glimpse into what it’s really like to be a student at PUC as you stay in one of the residence halls and attend social and academic events. 

We hope you can make plans to join us for College Days on February 9-11, 2020. Register now! For more information about College days and other ways to visit, check out puc.edu/visitors.

 

We can spend hours explaining what we think makes life at PUC so unique and honestly, we really would be happy to, but nothing beats experiencing it firsthand, so schedule your visit today! 

Before you arrive, be sure to apply and send in your admissions documents for a quick acceptance! It will make your visit even more special as you officially become a member of the Pioneers family.

 

What I Should Be Doing: An Interview with Music Alumnus Brennan Stokes

By Becky St. Clair

Brennan Stokes graduated from Pacific Union College in 2013 with a degree in piano performance. Having discovered a love for composition while studying with Professor Asher Raboy in the department of music, Stokes chose to continue his education at San Francisco Conservatory of Music, graduating in 2019 with a Master’s of Music in composition. Today he maintains a teaching studio in San Francisco’s Sunset District, passing on his love of music to the next generation of pianists. 

36636114_10156071716806281_3948195480516689920_n

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How did you discover your love for music?

My parents are both musically inclined; they both sang in the church choir, Mom took piano lessons as a kid, and Dad plays the trumpet. They started me in piano lessons when I was in kindergarten, but there was always music in our house. I just took it and ran with it.

How did you settle on the piano?

It was the first instrument I learned, and it was a match from the start. I really liked it, and according to my teachers, I showed some promise for it, so I kept playing. Piano just made sense to me. 

How did composing become part of your musical life?

I always assumed I was going to be on one side of the page. I knew I was going to learn it, research it, analyze it, but I never considered creating it myself. When I found out I had to take a composition class for my degree, I wasn’t sure how it was going to go, but after our first assignment I realized how magical this process is and I fell in love with it. I continued to take classes with Professor Raboy even after the requirements were done. Creating new music was incredibly exciting for me. 

Tell us about your studio.

I teach 30-35 students a week, all between the ages of 5 and 13. My schedule is very flexible; since most kids are in school, I am relatively free during the day. I start teaching around 3 p.m. three days a week and teach until 8 p.m. I enjoy what I do. I consider myself very fortunate to be working in my field, teaching young musicians.

When you’re not teaching kids to create music, you create music yourself. Describe your approach to practicing.

Really, it starts slow. Paying attention to fingerings becomes essential; training my hands to do smaller tasks automatically. Then I focus on rhythm, hand by hand, figuring out what each part of the piece sounds like, then I put it all together. A valuable tool Dr. Wheeler gave me is reverse practice. If you only ever start your practice at the beginning of a piece, that’s always going to be the strong part. But if you start at the end, which is often the hardest part, you ensure the end is also strong. Then you feel even more comfortable with the piece. 

What is the difference between hearing a piece and playing it?

It’s a totally different experience to hear a piece than it is to see what the hands have to do to make the piece happen. You may feel like you know a piece after listening to it multiple times, but when you sit down to actually play it, you realize there are little rhythmic or harmonic nuances you didn’t realize were there. For example, the harmonies in some Chopin and Rachmaninoff pieces are super crunchy. It sounds like you’re playing something wrong and you check the notes three times, but that’s really what it is. You learn it, and suddenly it’s not crunchy anymore; it works. 

Aside from providing a way to make a living, how has studying music contributed positively to your life?

The last several years I’ve been getting into poetry and it has turned into a cycle of self-enrichment. I read poetry and feel like it was meant to be an art song, so I create some vocal music to go with the poem. Also, music allows me to meet really incredible people from all over the world. Music is the most universal thing; it doesn’t matter where you come from or what language you speak, you can bond over music. I love how it brings people together.

Who is your favorite composer to play, and why?

I’d say Chopin and this relatively new 20th century English composer named York Bowen. Chopin changed the game for solo piano. Yes, it’s technical, but once you get it in the fingers, it becomes so fluid and so natural. There’s playfulness, there’s sadness, and the composer’s intentions are really clear. Bowen utilizes really rich harmonies and has a bit of a jazzier feeling. I don’t think he’s well known but he’s written a ton of music; in particular, his preludes and ballads feel really nice to play.

Who is your favorite composer to listen to, and why?

There are two to whom I constantly return: Ravel and Beethoven. I have yet to encounter a piece by Ravel I’m not stunned by. He was a wizard of music and his chamber and orchestra music is stunning. Every instrument’s shape and technique is magic because he thought about more than the obvious ways to use the instrument. He utilizes every aspect of shading to get different tone colors and sounds.

Beethoven takes his time with his surprises. What he did to change musical form is a reminder that if you feel like doing something, you can. He’ll pull a fortissimo out of nowhere or move through his harmonies in an unexpected way. His sonatas are really rich; one movement is fiery and passionate then another is lyrical and serene. It’s incredible to realize you don’t always have to do the same thing all the time. He reminds me to come back to things that are good and innovate. I’m still looking back to these masters and finding ways to influence my music-making process. 

What is something you want to improve about your musicianship, and what are you currently doing to move in that direction?

Right now, rhythms and the finer points of notating what I want, maintaining my ear to get the intricate harmonies I love. I constantly have to work at how I put the complicated pieces together in the way I want them. During my first year of grad school, I took a musicianship class, and it was insane but incredible. Walking out of that class, my ear was so much sharper than it had been walking in. I still use techniques from that class to keep track of what has happened in a piece and what I’m doing next. 

What is the highlight of your career thus far?

Definitely my first composition recital in November 2017—the first time I heard one of my pieces performed. I had composed two songs for mezzo soprano, violin, cello, and piano, and I was terrified. I’m so used to being in the driver’s seat, and it was terrifying to be the composer just sitting in the audience watching four other people do my music and having zero control over what happened.

It was an immense learning curve handing my music over to other musicians; what I think works initially may not actually work after a second pair of eyes looks it over, especially when I’m composing for instruments that are not my primary. I also learned that how performers interpret music is also a part of the creative process.

A lot of people came up to me afterward and said it was amazing. It was a moment when all of my fears of not being good enough vanished. To be positively received by an audience was wonderful, but for my music to be positively received by the musicians playing it was even better. It was confirmation I was doing what I should be doing.

53341341_10156945202839178_3558854977147371520_o

If you could change one thing about society’s perception of classical music, what would it be?

I wish more people understood if you have the context of 20th century music, it will make more sense. The 20th century saw a lot of horrible things happen, and that’s reflected in dissonant 20th century music. It’s not necessarily pretty to listen to, but if you understand what they’re trying to say you don’t necessarily disagree with it. It takes a moment to transcend what you’re hearing and realize what the composer is saying; for example, a minor key with shrieking strings can express how a Polish composer feels about the Holocaust. If you understand what it is they were experiencing or reacting to, it contextualizes their voice and makes the music more accessible. 

How do you deal with performance anxiety?

I read a book on performance anxiety and the author said if you don’t get nervous, if you don’t feel anxious or get a boost in energy (whether positive or negative) before a performance, it’s apathy. You don’t really care. If you’re nervous before you perform, it means you want to do a good job and perform to the best of your ability to make sure what you put out there is wonderful. That really changed my way of thinking. I’ve learned to recognize what happens to me and where my nervousness affects me the most, then find a way to adjust. I try to fully relax my body and tell myself I’m going to give a wonderful performance. I reassure myself I’ve practiced, I’m ready, and I’m a good enough musician to find my way through the performance. This is music and music is fun, and sharing it with others should be enjoyable. That nervous feeling just means I’m doing the right thing. I’m doing something that matters to me. And that’s how it should be. 

 

Faces of PUC: Sebastian Anderson

You may recognize this week’s #FacesOfPUC. His name is Sebastian Oliver Anderson and he’s the Student Association Executive Vice President. Sebastian is a junior in the department of visual arts focused on graphic design. In his spare time, he sometimes designs for the public relations office and is responsible for some incredible designs including the PUC bus wraps and this year’s PUC t-shirt! 

What is your dream job?

Growing up, I always wanted to be a roller coaster designer, but I think as I discovered my passion for graphic design and my strong interest in the film industry, I would really like to design movie posters, intro sequences, and other design elements necessary for film. I’m also interested in web design and UI/UX design!

What is your favorite thing about being a part of the Pioneers family?

I love the community I have here, especially my visual arts family in Fisher Hall! I am so thankful for my department.

Where is your favorite place in the world?

Right now, it is definitely Asia. I got to go on a tour two summers ago where I visited Singapore, Indonesia, and Hong Kong. I also got to spend two weeks in Malaysia with my girlfriend’s family and friends, and I can’t wait to go back.

What show are you binge-watching right now?

I’ve been watching Gilmore Girls with my mom! It’s a fun show and it’s nice to be able to spend time with her. 

What is something you’re passionate about?

I really want to make an actual, meaningful change here at PUC by the time I graduate. One of my biggest pet peeves is when my friends complain about issues on campus and have no initiative to try and seek a solution. I hope through my role as EVP, I can seek and find our student body’s strength in order to create an even better PUC.

Recommend a place in the Bay Area to visit on a weekend.

Mendocino is a beautiful little town only a few minutes away from Fort Bragg—where I live—and from our Albion Field Station! It has beautiful beaches—they are Norcal beaches, so don’t expect sun—and a lot of cute stores to visit. There’s even an ice cream store with mushroom ice cream!

 

Faces of PUC: Kharolynn Pascual Smith

Kharolynn Pascual Smith has been working as an admissions counselor for the past 10 months. Her focus is mainly on students interested in transferring to PUC, so if you’re thinking about transferring or know someone who is, Kharolynn is the perfect person to reach out to. Let’s get to know a little more about Kharolynn! 

What brought you to PUC? How/Why did you decide to work here? 

An interesting conversation brought me to PUC somewhat unexpectedly. I decided to work here because I value Adventist Christian education at all levels and believed I could use my experience and abilities to help students. 

What is the best thing about being a part of the Pioneers family? 

I appreciate the diversity and contributing to a shared purpose, vision, and mission.

 Where is your favorite place to eat in the Valley and why? 

Il Posto Trattoria in Napa. The food is freshly made and tastes great, it’s casual with unpretentious service, and I don’t have to save up for months to eat there.

 What is something you can do/want to do that might be surprising for people to learn? 

I’d like to do a jungle canopy zipline tour, which is surprising because I’m quite terrified of heights. 

 What is one song you’re listening to on repeat lately? 

I tend to repeat entire albums rather than just one song. Recently, I’ve been listening to a Yo-Yo Ma album of Bach Cello Suites a few times a week. It’s peaceful.

 Who is someone you admire and why? 

I admire people like Job in the Bible who have experienced extreme adversity and retained their trust in and praise for God in spite of everything. My grandmother and my friend, Mike, are two examples.

 Finish this sentence: On Sunday mornings you can find me …

Enjoying the chance to sleep until I wake up naturally rather than being forced awake by an alarm, then doing something leisurely, like reading, knitting, or baking.

 

 

 

 

Faces of PUC: Dale Withers

Dale Withers has worked at PUC for 35 years and currently holds the title of director of facilities management. But Dale is a lot more than just the director, Dale is a PUCite through and through. He honestly just might know everything there is to know about PUC! Did you know under the PUC campus sits a bunch of secret tunnels? He does! And I can guarantee he’s been in all of them.

We asked Dale to answer a few questions so we can get better acquainted with him.

What brought you to PUC? How/Why did you decide to work here?  

Was working for Dwight Shogren in Texas before he came to PUC. He called me a few months later telling me he needed me at PUC. I wanted out of Texas so bad I never even asked about the benefit package, just asked what day I needed to be there!

 

What is the best thing about being a part of the Pioneers family? 

Working with students and getting to help people.

 

Where is your favorite place to eat in the Valley and why?  

Haciendas in Cloverdale, because it’s not in the busy Napa Valley so it’s quiet like restaurants used to be.

 

What is something you can do/want to do that might be surprising for people to learn?  

Some days I wonder if I am actually making a difference but then someone brightens my day with a compliment.

 

What is one song you’re listening to on repeat lately?   

Sunshine on my Shoulders.

 

Who is someone you admire and why?  

My crew because they are my feet and legs. Without them I could not get what we as a team get done here at Facilities. I am blessed to have good people that work for me and care deeply about this institution. And as an added bonus they know how to laugh, which makes for happy times.

 

Finish this sentence: On Sunday mornings you can find me …

Working mostly lately. Hopefully we can get back to Kayaking and cabin trips again soon!

 

Faces of PUC: Caleb Pudewell

Caleb Pudewell is a senior here at PUC and couldn’t be more excited to be a part of the graphic design field. He is already putting his skills to use in the public relations office as one of the student designers. 

We asked Caleb to answer a few questions so we can get better acquainted with him.

What is your dream job?

I would love to work as a graphic designer for a company that allows me to travel the world. Imagine living in Spain for a month, and then maybe a few weeks in Japan, followed by a short stint through the Southwest of the USA. That is my dream job.

How does that compare to what you wanted to be when you were young? 

As a child, I always wanted to work with animals and I was also curious about being a doctor. I still love animals and they serve as an inspiration in my designs. Being a doctor though, no way! I couldn’t deal with all the blood.

What is your favorite thing about being a part of the Pioneers family?

I love how devoted the professors are at PUC. I often go to them for advice on professional matters as well as personal issues. They always offer a listening ear and that’s something I’ve really grown to appreciate.

Where is your favorite place in the world?

Wow, what a tough question. I love so many places. I don’t know if I have a favorite but I would really love to go and visit Barcelona again. It’s a beautiful city with a rich culture.

What show are you binge-watching right now?giphy-1

Mindhunter, Brooklyn-99, and Parks & Rec are a few of my favorites.

What is something you’re passionate about?

I love nature and everything about it. Every chance I get, I love to go and explore new places and find off the beaten path activities.

Recommend a place in the Bay Area to visit on a weekend.

One of my favorite weekend spots is Bodega Bay. You can visit the beach, find some great food, and pick up some saltwater taffy for the ride home. It’s an amazing place to visit.