Category Archives: Social Life

Incoming Pioneer Creates Community on Instagram

Midway through the spring quarter during some daily social media perusing, I came across an Instagram account I didn’t recognize. It was called PUC Class of 2024. It’s bio said “Welcome PUC class of 2024! Follow to find future pioneers💚💛 DM to be featured 🤩”. Intrigued by this I decided to DM the account assuming one of our great Admissions Counsels had started it. What I discovered was the account was run by a senior from Lodi Academy. Her name is Ashley Garner and she’s about to start her first year as a PUC Pioneer! She wanted a way to get to know her fellow classmates before arriving on campus. We loved the idea so much we decided to chat with Ashley to learn a little more about her! 

Where are you from?

I’m from Lodi, California

What are you planning to study?

I’m planning to study psychology.

What about college are you most excited to experience?

I’m most excited about meeting new people and having new experiences!

Are you planning on joining any campus clubs at PUC?

I would love to be involved in campus ministries and/or praise teams.

What made you decide to start the class of 2024 IG page?

I created the 2024 class because I wanted incoming freshmen, as well as current students, to have the opportunity to get to know each other and to start creating a community.

Who can join?

Anyone is welcome to join! Any incoming freshmen are welcome to be featured! 

What is your goal for the page?

My goal is to create a safe and fun family-like community for the class of 2024!

What’s been the most fun part about running it?

I’ve had many great interactions with other future PUC students, and I’ve even made new friends.

Favorite movie?

My favorite movie is 50 First Dates.

Last book you read for fun?

The last book I read for fun was Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens by Becky Albertalli.

Favorite meal?

My favorite meal is probably anything from Chick-fil-a.

Tortilla chips or Fritos for your haystacks?

Both, but probably Fritos.

Favorite place to shop?

My favorite place to shop is definitely Target and I also love going to thrift shops!

 

Are you about to join the PUC Pioneers family this fall quarter or are you a current student excited to get to know your new classmates? Head over to Instagram and follow @pucclassof24

 

 

Everything & Nothing: Sharing Music During COVID

By Becky St. Clair

Alice Walker once said, “Whenever you are creating beauty around you, you are restoring your own soul.” 

Over the past several months we have watched the world come alive with art. Musicians on balconies, serenading their neighbors; artists creating on their walls at home and sharing it via timelapse on YouTube; influencers using their writing skills to encourage, uplift, and inspire. It’s the arts that got the world through quarantine. The arts restored people’s souls. And PUC’s department of music could do no less for its students.

It didn’t take long after everyone went home to wait out COVID-19 for reality to hit: We missed music. Spring quarter is generally the busiest for the department, and 2020 was no different. However, the “busy” looked very different. Like every other campus department, the music department scrambled to make sure all of its courses were available and viable online, that students could access everything they needed to, and that effective learning was still taking place. 

Once those logistical details were ironed out, the question remained: How will we make and share music this quarter?

Music is more than just a discipline. It’s more than a major or a college department or background to a movie or a road trip. Music is a community. It’s a lifeline. It’s an expression of heart and soul. And we needed all of that more than ever during spring 2020. 

Like many others across the disciplines, our gazes turned toward Zoom. Deciding we had nothing to lose, we figured, Why not?! And on the evening of Wednesday, June 3, the music faculty and staff gathered on Zoom with a few community attendees and several music majors for our first-ever virtual General Student Recital. 

Between the six pieces performed that night viewers enjoyed the (sometimes somewhat garbled) sounds of piano, voice, violin, and viola. 

“I didn’t think it was possible to do a recital over Zoom,” admits Asher Raboy, acting chair and resident artist in the department of music. “And yet, it was a lovely evening. I felt so much joy seeing our students perform, and I sense they had a similar experience. I am so glad we did it.”

Natalie Fode, 2020 nursing graduate, and senior piano major performed Debussy’s “Clair de Lune” from her empty church in Yountville, California, where her husband is a pastor.

“I really enjoyed getting to do our GSR this quarter, despite the odd circumstances,” she says. “It gave me something to practice for and kept me motivated. Seeing and hearing my friends play was so special; they are truly wonderful musicians.”

Fode’s performance was gorgeous, and just the right speed for a contemplative and peaceful piece like “Clair de Lune.”

Her favorite part of the recital?

“Definitely when Lewis’ little niece sang along with him!”

Lewis Govea, a junior voice major in the pre-pharmacy program, sang from his home in Southern California. What no one saw coming was the adorableness of his nearly two-years-old niece stealing the show by standing right in front of the camera during Lewis’ performance, and trying to sing like her uncle. Lewis held it together, though, and finished strong with his Italian and French pieces. 

Michael Siahaan, voice major, presented two pieces, one live and one pre-recorded, the former a classic vocal performance piece in Italian and the latter a fun and familiar tune from the 1950s musical, My Fair Lady

James Woodward, senior violin and viola major, also presented two compositions, one Schubert, one Vivaldi. His live solo performance was beautiful and well-executed, despite his camera slipping while he played. Quickly setting it back up during a pause in the music, Woodward carried on like any great musician would.

The point was not that it was perfect. Because it couldn’t be. “Perfect” would have been in person, live, applause echoing throughout Paulin Recital Hall, and we all would have enjoyed Ghirardelli brownies and sparkling punch after the show. “Perfect” would have been together.

The point was that we made and shared music, we saw each other’s faces, and we reminded ourselves of what it is we truly love about our music, our community, and our department. 

So, in reality, maybe it was “perfect” after all. 

Govea shared his own feelings about the recital, and, honestly, he says it best, so I’ll let him close this post. 

GSR was, in short, everything I needed, but nothing I wanted. I wanted to sing in a big wide open space. I wanted to bow to the masses. I wanted to have a real accompanist. I wanted the nightmare of separation to be over. What I got was family. I got a reminder that I still had my community. I got a wake-up call. 

GSR this quarter was an outpouring of virtual yet tangible love and support. I got to see my music family play and sing like nothing was wrong. We got the opportunity to do things we never thought we would have to do. I got to sing for people who literally were only there to listen and support and encourage. 

The reality of GSR is nothing compared to what it meant for me as a musician. GSR was a success, and not just because my one-year-old niece had her debut performance, but because it stripped the music down to what it was intended to do: be a beacon for those who listen and love.

Stay in tune with the department of music by signing up for their monthly e-newsletter. Email music@puc.edu to be added to the list.)

 

A Day In The Life Of the Remote-Learner: Aileen Kurts 

Hi! My name is Aileen Kurts and I would say with everything going on right now, life is pretty crazy. I just finished my sophomore year, majoring in English Pre-Med and many students probably know me as their favorite Grind barista🤣. I’m also a biology TA, a senator, and President Pro-Tempore of PUC’s student senate. Doing all that remotely has certainly been interesting. 

My days at home were a bit more relaxed than when I’m on campus, but somehow I’ve felt even more tired here. I think it’s because I miss all the people and energy I get from seeing my friends. Now I spend my time looking at a screen, whether it’s in class, watching TV, Facetiming friends, and most importantly studying. It got pretty tiresome so I started some new hobbies at home. I’ve gotten really into DIY projects. I’ve painted my room, put up shelves over my desk, and painted my bathroom. I’ve been working on so many more plans I hope to accomplish while at home for the summer. 

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I also started cooking a lot. My mom is a nurse who is self-isolating in her room so I cook so she doesn’t have to come out. It’s not a lot of fun not getting to hang out with my mom, but sometimes I get to sit outside her door. We’ll talk, make jokes and it reminds me that being home during the pandemic isn’t so bad. I haven’t lived at home for this long since I was 15 so it has definitely been an adjusting period for me. One of the best things about living at home though is getting to see my dogs every day.

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My school days were often a little crazy as I had five classes each day with labs, meetings, and a ton of homework. I decided to work more on self-care while I have the time to focus a bit more on myself. This means some days I take a long nap, a nice bath, or just read a book. If you’re interested, here’s how my days as a remote learner at PUC went. 

7:45 a.m. – On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays I had all of my classes. This includes 8 a.m. Organic Chemistry (no science class should be this early). I have a dream of waking up at 7 a.m. but this is still just a dream so I would wake up 15 minutes before my class starts, drink a cup of water, and open my computer to start my day.  

8:00 a.m. – OChem with Professor Hilario. Surprisingly I never slept through this one!  

9:00 a.m. – Physics with Professor Robertson. 

10:00 a.m. – Survey of Lit with Professor Gill. Being an English major while studying pre-med means I get to have the best of both worlds. I get to study what I love and still go into the career I want. It means I have some pretty hard classes but it’s all worth it when I’m studying things I love.  

11:00 a.m. – Christian Beliefs with Professor Kim.

Noon – At this time I would be overcome with exhaustion from classes. I would either take a nap or cook. I do all the shopping to limit exposure to my parents so I get to buy all the things I need to make new and healthy meals.

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 2:00-5:00 p.m. – I had two labs: physics and O-chem. I would spend a few hours working on my online labs. It’s hard having to do hands-on learning on the computer, but our lab instructors do the best they can by sending us videos of the lab.  

5:00 p.m. – I would get some dinner, take a break and watch Full House and let my brain rest. I also used that time to get to talk to my boyfriend, Samuel. We’ve found some creative ways to overcome long distances. We use Microsoft Teams to watch TV together and play games. We even work out together over FaceTime.

7:00 p.m. – Now is when I would do homework or take a meeting. Honestly, anything could happen. I tried to talk to my friends and deal with anything that needed to get done.

Midnight – If I’m lucky, I would be in bed. (Unlike right now because I am writing this at 12:30 a.m.). Sometimes I get my best work done at midnight or I get all my work done and go to bed early. Life during the pandemic is pretty complicated but all we can do is take it one day at a time.  

 

A Day In The Life of A Remote-Learner: Adam Adreveno

Hello, my name is Adam Adreveno and I just finished my sophomore year at PUC as a film major. A little bit about myself: I’m from a small town in Northern California and I’ve always had a dog. I like making remote-controlled lego vehicles in my free time and tinkering with all sorts of gadgets. This last quarter was a wild ride of figuring out how to keep track of all my classes when there is nothing to distinguish them in my mind. So without further ado, let me share with you a day in my life as a remote-learner. 

6:00 a.m. – I’m probably having an exciting, well-structured dream that I will not remember.

7:00 a.m. – I wake up, even though I’d like to finish that dream I was having for another hour.

8:00 a.m. – At around eight, I’ll make some breakfast of fried eggs and toast. A fun fact is that I have chickens at my house so I get fresh eggs every day! 

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9:00 a.m. This is when I have my directing class where I learn how to direct the imaginary actors living in my forehead. 

10:00 a.m. – General homework time

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11:00 a.m. – This is when I have my group production class. Usually, it’s where all the film students help each other on our movies. However, since the quarantine, this class has been more like solo production.

Noon Time for lunch as well as a stroll outside to play with my dogs.

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1:00 p.m. – Cinematography zoom lecture time.

2:00 p.m. This is when my last class directing begins, and on other days screenwriting.

4:00 p.m. – Time to collect the chicken eggs!

5:00 – 9:00 p.m. This is when I split up my time between dinner, homework, family time, and video games.

10:00 p.m. – Sleep is valuable to me because it is the time when our brains comb through everything we’ve learned and done throughout the day to record and make connections with it. So I like to end all my days reading my Bible to make sure that’s always the freshest thing in my mind.

 

A Day in The Life of A Remote-Learner – Miryam Andrianarijaona

Good morning, good afternoon, good evening or good night, wherever you are! I hope you are all safe and adjusted to our new normal. It escalated quickly, I mean who saw that coming? I’ve heard variations of how people are either bored, too busy, not busy, enjoying it, or hating it. To be honest, I’ve actually been enjoying my time at home. The beginning was a bit rough, though I knew that even if COVID wouldn’t happen I’d still do the same thing for Spring Break, sad I know. I think that this is a new version of me finding myself and taking care of myself, which I’m loving. All the patience, all the independence, it’s a bit relaxing, so I guess thank you for this slight break?  

The last two quarters I was busy, doing a bunch of outside work and extracurricular activities. Life was a bit rocky and difficult, but I grew from that and learned. I like to think that that’s the reason why this quarter feels less stressful and not as busy, even though I’m taking a full load and still able to work on other art projects. I also like to think that quarantine has helped me grow as an individual and I see a lot of new positives about it, but not ignoring that others have it rough and maybe having a really difficult time.  

I feel really privileged right now, because I am, which I am thankful for! One of the best things that have happened was finding flour and toilet paper. I swear, some people are either hiding large stashes somewhere, because it took a while searching for some. I drove 50 mins for it and the trip took around three hours. Crazy, but I enjoyed that adventure.  

So that’s a long intro, but Hi! My name’s Miryam and I’m a BFA film major. Here’s a quick look into my life right now, it hasn’t changed too much. I start the day, the night before, as in I’m a night owl. Usually going to sleep at 1 a.m. is really early for me, so you might catch me up on social media till 4 a.m. or maybe 5 a.m. if you’re lucky. I don’t stay up for fun, usually, I’m doing my homework. I’m not too crammed though because I take my time. It’s a bit easier for me to stay up whenever my sisters are up to doing homework as well, so it’s not too bad. I wouldn’t recommend staying up this late because sometimes I get these weird tingling headaches and back pains from it all, so that’s a plus.  

Eventually, I’ll either watch YouTube or bits of movies to ease my brain from work. After that, I’ll head to bed. At around 7 a.m. I should be (but I’m not) running to train for cross country but let’s just say that’s the next thing I’ll be aiming to improve. Then (don’t tell my professors this but I just put my alarm at the time my class starts), which depending on the day, it’s either 9 a.m. or 10 a.m. which isn’t bad, since I’m in the pacific time zone. I hop out of bed and head to my “classroom” a.k.a my living room. After my first class, I have a break and that’s the time that I properly wake up to shower and get ready. Then I might snack a bit.  

Depending on the day I’ll either have a full day of classes till 9:30 p.m. (I know right, it’s a late class) or my day will consist of zero classes. During my class breaks, I’ll either work on projects or homework that may have been due a couple of days ago…oops.   

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Then eventually at around 7 or 9 p.m., depending on the day, I’ll take a fat nap for a couple of hours, just so that I can be prepared to stay up till 4 am. I love me some naps. Sadly, time has been inconvenient because I usually miss texts or calls during my nap time, which is fine.  

For me, this quarter went by quickly. I expected that it would go too slow, so yay! I’ve enjoyed most of what’s going on, there have been lower moments in life, so I’m very grateful for where I am now! Never in a million years would I have thought that this would be the way this entire year had been. So much has changed and I’ve learned from it all. I guess my one take into this year would be, that you can’t control what happens around you, but you can control how you react. You can choose to turn the negatives into positives, you can choose to accept mistakes and learn, you can choose to grow. I’ve learned to push myself and I’ve learned that I need to say no sometimes.

I think the best thing out of this entire school year is that I feel like I’ve found out way more about myself and I’ve been able to use it in a way that I can help others around me. I look forward to finishing this school year strong and having a relaxing summer. I’m excited to see everyone in the fall! I wish all of you guys safety and for seniors, I hope you guys know that I, your professors, friends, and family are proud of you! For those affected, if there is anything I can do, I would love to help in any way that I can!  

 

Faces of PUC: Audrey Uyemura 

Audrey Uyemura is a senior from Loma Linda majoring in early childhood education. She’s also pre-occupational therapy. Despite an obviously busy schedule,  Audrey was kind enough to sit down and answer a few questions! 

What is your dream job? 

I want to be an occupational therapist. It is similar to physical therapy, but it focuses more on helping people learn or re-learn to do daily tasks. More specifically I want to work with children in the school system. 

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

When I was younger, I wanted to be a chef. I still love cooking, but as I got older I felt like it was more of a hobby. It was more fun for me to cook as a way to relax rather than a job. 

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

The best thing about being a part of the Pioneers family is the sense of community we have on campus. PUC has some of the best people and anywhere you walk on campus, you will always see a friendly face. 

Where is your favorite place in the world? 

Probably Hawaii. I just love the sun, beach, and humidity. A lot of people don’t like humidity, but I love it.  

What show are you bingeing these days? 

Well, it’s not really a show, but I’m a huge Star Wars nerd and love re-watching those movies, so I am currently making my way through those again. 

What is something you’re passionate about? 

I am passionate about working with children, especially those with special needs or disabilities. This is what really drew me to occupational therapy in the first place because I saw how these children’s lives were changing for the better with this help. Something about being around them is so inspiring to me. 

Recommend a place to go in the Bay Area on a weekend 

Honestly, I find myself going to Santa Rosa a lot. Being in Angwin on the hill, I feel like Santa Rosa is one of the closest places you can go to that feels like more of a typical city.  

 

4 Tips To Strengthen Your Relationship With God

One of Pastor Kent Rufo’s goals for PUC is to find ways to strengthen spiritual life on campus and encourage students to become closer to God. 

We asked Pastor Rufo to share some suggestions on ways students can build a stronger relationship with God. Here they are! 

Start A Bible Reading Group

This doesn’t need to be a big group. It can just be two people that find time to read the Bible together. The reading doesn’t need to take long either. You can read ten minutes before a class, after a class, or just a couple of minutes during the day. 

Have A Prayer Group

Start by praying with your friends, then invite more friends to see if they want to join. There is power in prayer. The more people, the better. Some people may not be comfortable, but reaching out shows that you care. Check out Prayer In Numbers for a great example! 

Have Bible Studies 

Some of the best Bible studies are student-led. If you want to start one, reach out to your friends, and see if they would be interested. If you don’t know how to start a Bible study, talk to the student chaplains or Pastor Rufo. 

Serve 

“Serve in some kind of mission, whether local or international,” says Pastor Rufo. PUC offers mission trips, outreach programs, and volunteer services for students. There are opportunities on campus to bring you out into the world and serve. You don’t need to go far to help others. There are people in our neighborhood who need a lot of help and support. 

Pastor Rufo loves hearing from students. If you have ideas you want to share with Pastor Rufo about spiritual life, don’t hesitate to talk to him. He is always open to new ideas and speaking with students. You can reach out to him via email at krufo@puc.eduFor more information about the Missions & and Chaplains team, visit their webpage

“If faculty, staff, and students are spiritually whole, then we’re working together.” -Pastor Rufo

 

A Day In The Life of A Remote-Learner: Miriam Yu

Hi, my name is Miriam. I’m majoring in management for medical professionals, pre-occupational therapists, and minoring in communication. All of these majors might be scary but I’m actually ahead of schedule so I’m only taking 13 credits this quarter. I’m an international student from Hong Kong and I recently relocated to Southern California to stay with a friend so I’m doing my remote-learning from their place.

Besides the fact that I can’t see all my friends, I’m actually enjoying my time doing remote learning. Since school moved online, my schedule became more flexible. Most of my classes don’t have meetings, so I usually start my day at around 10 a.m. (I know you’re jealous, that’s why I really recommend summer class so you can be ahead too!) 

Here’s my daily routine: 

10 a.m. – Wake up and drink a big cup of water to replace my usual coffee. (Yes, I am addicted to coffee and I’m trying to get out of it. This is something I’m trying to accomplish through this quarantine time. I’m trying to control myself from caffeine.)

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10:30 a.m. – I’m ready, let’s get the day started! Yes, I only take 30 minutes or even less to get ready because I don’t dress up and don’t put makeup on anymore. Maybe sometimes when I’m really bored, I will put on some light makeup just to make myself feel better. But that does not happen often. My daily breakfast is toast with vegan salad on top! It is so delicious. Highly recommended! 

11 a.m. – I start doing my homework and classes. Since I’m only taking 13 credits, I usually do most of my stuff on Sunday and I will do the leftovers bit by bit every day. I know a lot of people mentioned it is not recommended to work on your bed. However, I enjoy my time on my bed and I’m lazy. I promise I can actually concentrate. if you can’t don’t follow this! 

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1 p.m. – Time for lunch. I usually eat something heavier, so I don’t have to eat that much during dinner. Today, I’m going to eat potato salad, like a lot of potato salad. 

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2 p.m. – Class time. I only have one class that meets on Tuesday. I love this class and recommend it to everyone. Professor Toledo is the best teacher ever!! 

4 p.m. – Time for a break. I usually go downstairs and play with the dog for a little bit and stay in the backyard enjoying the view. Especially this week, the sun is out, and it’s 90 degrees in Southern California. Super-hot! On Friday or Saturday, I will go for a walk near the neighborhood, or just relax.

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5 p.m. – Time to work. I’m still working as a TA, therefore, I still need to input grades, upload files, and answer students’ questions.  

6:30 p.m. – Time for dinner. As I said before, I usually have a light dinner, so my dinner will be SALAD!!!!!! 

8 p.m. – I don’t do much after dinner. I usually facetime with my friends or family to catch up on what’s happening in their life. I encourage everyone to do this. I’m an introvert, but this shelter-in-place really has me anxious. Not because I’m worried about my health, but I need to socialize to keep myself alive. Facetiming helps me to stay positive.  

That’s it! I hope you enjoy this and I wish to see everyone again soon. I miss our student life on campus. Be sure to follow all the updates through the PUC email because I know the school is still planning activities for us. Stay healthy, positive, and most importantly, stay safe. 

  

 

 

The “You” You’ve Needed to Be: An Interview With Two Graduating Music Students

By Becky St. Clair

Matthew Guevara, trumpet major, is set to graduate in June with a degree in music performance and having completed the requirements for the pre-veterinary program. He’s finishing up his final quarter from home in Vallejo, California, where he’s sheltering-in-place with his parents, brother, and sister. 

Kelley Polite, voice major, completed her coursework for a degree in music performance in March. Her plan this quarter was to spend time with family and friends and do some traveling while she waited for graduation in June. Instead, she’s sheltering-in-place with her parents and brother in Oakley, California, where she’s lived all her life.

We will definitely miss these students with their fantastic sense of humor, easy laughter, cheerful attitudes, and significant contribution to our ensembles and music program as a whole. 

Congratulations, Kelley and Matt! Please come back and perform in Paulin Hall again very soon!

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Matt

When I was around four or five years old, my family went to visit some family in Pennsylvania for a couple of weeks. Because it was a long trip, we took our dog, along with her favorite toy. During play one day, her toy was thrown into the street and of course she chased after it, but she was hit by a car in the process. Her back legs were broken and I remember watching my aunt and my mom bandage her up and try to splint her legs, and I knew at that moment I wanted to do that. I was going to be a veterinarian. 

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Kelley

When I was a kid I really wanted to be a veterinarian. I had my own little doctor kit I would use on my stuffed animals. But after I found out what you had to do to help animals that were hurt and how hurt they could be, I knew it wasn’t for me and my dream went to being a baker. I even thought about going to culinary school for it.

When did you first realize you loved music?

Matt

I don’t know that there was anyone moment when it was revealed to me; it’s just always been part of who I am. Even before I was born my parents were always playing classical music and I was born into music. It’s just always been there.

Kelley

I’ve always loved music, but I think the moment that I fully recognized it was when I watched The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway when I was 18. It was the first musical I saw live and it’s my mom’s favorite musical so I grew up listening to the music and watching the movie adaptation a lot. I almost cried when I heard the first opening notes from the orchestra and continued to just be so emotional throughout the show. Experiencing the orchestra, singing, and dancing in person changed everything for me. It was like seeing the music come to life and it got me thinking that I’d love to have a job making music and giving the experience I had to someone else.

How did you settle on which instrument you wanted to major in?

Matt

As I said, I’ve always loved and been around music, and through the years I’ve tried my hand at several. I can play the piano–which was my first instrument–trumpet, guitar, clarinet, saxophone, trombone, tuba, euphonium, and French horn. 

The funny thing is that for most of my early childhood, I thought I was going to play drums. The summer before fifth grade we traveled to Nicaragua to see family and I spent the entire trip bragging to my cousins about how I was going to be a drummer. Then, two weeks before school started, my dad showed me a video of someone playing the trumpet, and I suddenly knew that was what I wanted. I was going to play the trumpet. I never looked back.

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Voice wasn’t really an option for me until I was 17. My first instrument was the piano and it was only after my brother had started playing did I see how cool it was and when my brother stopped playing my parents really pushed me to continue. While learning piano, I also took up the flute in elementary school and played until high school when I switched to playing mallet percussion. I took piano for eight years before making the decision to quit because I didn’t have enough time and the passion to play wasn’t there anymore. After that I didn’t think of taking lessons again until my parents suggested it. 

I had always liked to sing and was in choir all through elementary and high school but always felt too small and shy to commit to lessons. Then when I was 17, my dad found a studio in Walnut Creek and convinced me to take a trial lesson with a couple of instructors. I clicked with one of them–Nancy was her name–and I took lessons there for about a year and a half until it closed.

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Describe a music-related experience that changed your life.

Matt 

When I was in high school, the music department took us to Disneyland where we recorded a film score. I’d never had an experience like that before, and I suddenly realized I could do more with trumpet besides casual church playing. Everything I thought I knew about music shifted.

Kelley

In my senior year of high school I was in my school’s performance of The Sound of Music. It was the first musical I had ever done and I will always cherish it. I had never acted or auditioned for a show before so it was all new and scary to me. It was a huge learning and growing experience for me but I’ll never forget it. We practiced for almost a year and I put everything I could into rehearsing and the two performances we did.  

Tell us about someone whose positive influence has helped you get to where you are today.

Matt 

Definitely my trumpet teacher in high school, Ian Cochran. My old trumpet was falling apart and not playing well at all, and I desperately needed a new one. One night my dad came home with a Stradivarius trumpet–the gold standard–and he said I could have it if I took actual lessons and got serious about learning the instrument. I agreed. 

I remember my first lesson when Cochran asked me what my goals were. I said I didn’t know and he just started playing crazy things I didn’t even know were possible. I was awestruck. He made it look easy and it was remarkable. Even looking back now I realize how amazing he was, and he was only 25. He started showing me how to do some of the crazy things he’d done, and in every lesson I learned something new. He pushed me to where I am today and I wouldn’t be here without him and the time he took to get me here.

Kelley 

I’m lucky to be able to say that I’ve had so many people help me to become who I am today and I feel bad to only choose one. So I’m going to cheat and say, two people. 

Singing-wise, Chalena and Chanelle have given me the most push to get me out of myself to sing. I’ve never told them, but ever since I met them I’ve always looked up to them. Their voices have just been my goal. They have the type of voice and presence on stage that when they sing you gotta listen. When I started wanting to sing in the praise band they took every opportunity to shove a mic in my hand and say, “Sing this.” No matter how much I protested they wouldn’t take no for an answer. And I think that’s the kind of push I needed back then because after that I can’t remember saying no. It was a shift in myself that I don’t think I fully recognized until now but their pestering and pushing has gotten me to where I am today.

How did you choose music as a major?

Matt 

I started out as a biology major, but it quickly felt like something I’d been pressured into doing and I wasn’t enjoying it. It didn’t seem to fit completely. When I realized what did fit, it was music. Music was something I enjoyed wholly and it helped me through some tough times those first few months of college. I realized that if music helped me, it could help others, and I could be the conduit, so I declared a music major. You never know what someone is going through, no matter how happy they seem, which I fully understand. I know music can touch people in ways nothing else can, so every time I give a concert, I have a little prayer in my head: “Let my music show the light at the end of the tunnel to those who need it.”

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What surprised you about college?

Kelley

What surprised me most about college is how different it was from how people said it would be. I had teachers and my brother telling me senior year of high school how hard classes would be and I got it drilled in my head that it would be so serious and hard all the time. Then I got here and realized I hadn’t been told about all the fun I would also have! Don’t get me wrong: the classes were hard and I had to study and practice a lot, but I also had so. much. fun. I’ve met so many people who are really important to me now, done things I wouldn’t have done otherwise and have grown so much. I’m really happy with the time I’ve spent at PUC.

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Tell us about a class you weren’t sure you’d like but that ended up teaching you something invaluable.

Matt 

Orchestration. I expected it to be just “okay” but I had such a blast in that class and I learned so much. I find myself now writing random stuff, orchestrating random pieces. It was a really useful class in the end, and I’m glad I took it.

Kelley

I hate to say it now (especially since Matt just did) because I actually really liked the class when it was done, but…Orchestration. It’s funny now because there were three of us in the class and none of us said much, but I learned a lot. Initially I didn’t know what to expect but there was a lot more to it than I thought. Learning about each family of instruments and how to write for them individually and collectively gave me so much more appreciation for orchestras and bands. I listen to each now with more comprehension and admiration for what is happening during pieces. 

Before we all had to go into social isolation, what were some of your favorite on- and off-campus activities?

Matt 

I absolutely loved nightly room checks as an RA, when I got to see all my residents. I love those guys–they’re my second family. The friends I’ve made here at PUC are brothers to me. When we went off-campus we’d usually go to the movies, ice skating, or grab some food in Napa. 

Kelley 

I liked to check out lots of different places in the area, but the only real regular spot I went to was the Friday farmer’s markets in St. Helena. My roommate and I went almost weekly to get coffee and a pastry, walk the market, and just chill. I did have favorite places to study, though; my usual spots were The Grind, the Napa RoCo, and the third floor of the PUC library. 

What is one of your favorite pieces you’ve performed, and why?

Matt 

Definitely and without hesitation Alexander Arutiunian’s Trumpet Concerto in A-flat Major. I’m a romantic classical performer–that’s how I can express myself the most and it’s what I like to play. I love all the romantic arts and music, and this particular piece combines everything I love: The technical difficulty, the range, the dynamics. You have to have it “just right” to sound good, otherwise, it’s just a blob of everything and it’s not pretty. Making it pretty is what makes it different, and I love it. It’s the piece I was most excited about for my senior recital, actually, and the piece I’m most sad I can’t perform for a while.

Kelley 

My all-time favorite piece I’ve performed is The Monk and his Cat by Samuel Barber. I remember getting the music from Dr. Wilkes (my voice teacher) and looking it over and being so excited that I got to sing a song about a cat and it is, like, a “serious” piece of music. It was supposed to be a challenge piece for me and something she thought I would like. Me, not being so observant, thought, “Ok, two pages and in English: No problem.” Then Ellen (my accompanist) pointed out that there was no time signature and the piano played something totally different than what I would sing, and I panicked. But learning the piece was so fun and learning to portray the story of the song made me absolutely fall in love with it. If Dr. Wilkes would’ve allowed it I would’ve performed that song everywhere.

Speaking of performing, Kelley, because you finished the quarter before COVID-19 made gatherings impossible, you were able to give your senior recital. How did it go?

Kelley
Funnily enough I don’t remember much about it! When I perform I put myself into this mode where I give everything that I can and for some reason it makes me blackout until I’m done, lol! I do remember how relieved, overjoyed, sad, and full of disbelief I was when I was done. I had so many emotions because it’s the moment I had been preparing for since sophomore year when I started with Dr. Wilkes. I couldn’t believe that I had done something so huge before, and sad that it was over. 

There were three things that I was really worried about before my recital. I worried about the French set that I was doing because that is the hardest language for me. The second was one of my German pieces. It was the newest piece of music for me and for the life of me I couldn’t get it committed to memory. The other thing I worried about was the thank-you speech I gave. I never like doing speeches, public or otherwise, so it was really tough for me. I went onstage with a written-out speech and when it came time to talk it stayed folded up in my hand the whole time. 

The thing I was most proud of was how I held myself on stage and handled doing a whole concert by myself. Second to that was my performance of My Dear Marquis at the end of my recital. I was so anxious to see how people would receive it and see me go all out for that song. I had so much fun with that piece and I loved that the audience didn’t know where I was going with it.

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And Matt, you actually didn’t get to do a senior recital–yet! Are you going to come back and show off your skills when we can gather again?

Matt

Ha! I sure hope so. I worked really hard on all of my music, and I was really looking forward to performing the Arutiunian Trumpet Concerto. Raboy has mentioned to me that they want me to come back next year and give my recital, and I hope that works out.

Let’s talk about how COVID-19 affected your senior year. I know that’s a challenge because it’s pretty much turned everything upside-down for everyone, but what has affected you most, do you think?

Matt 

Honestly, it’s plagued my life. It took away my degree recital, my last quarter of college…if I’d known last quarter was the end of normal college, I would’ve done some things I now won’t get to do. I don’t know if I’ll see some of my friends again, and I don’t get to perform my senior recital–at least not before the school year ends. I already had Senioritis, and now the whole online education thing has made motivation even more difficult. In some ways there seems to be more pressure, in other ways less…it’s just a whirlwind experience that I can’t say I’m enjoying!

Kelley 

It’s been a really strange period for sure. I had no idea what was really going on with COVID-19 until I heard that other colleges were being shut down and even then I didn’t think it was that serious. I had just performed for my last General Student Recital and was preparing to take part in the NATS [National Association of Teachers of Singing] singing competition and do my drama final (two things that I was really excited for) that weekend, and 3 days later I’m moving out of my dorm room. I had to deal with so much information at once with finals being online and leaving college so suddenly that it honestly didn’t feel real. It felt rushed and incomplete. I was sad about leaving the music building for the last time. It’s been the building I’ve practically lived in since I started in college. 

I don’t like saying this but I felt like I was robbed of the things that I was expecting to do during this time. I was planning on doing some traveling during the gap quarter I had. See friends in L.A., a road trip to Seattle and maybe go up to Canada, stay out in the Santa Cruz mountains with my auntie and live life a little slower. But instead I’m confined to my house with my family who works during the day so I can’t really bother them and a weekly shopping trip to look forward to. I’ve missed a lot over this time and some days I’m sadder over it and other things than usual, but I’ve also gained different perspectives during this quarantine so I choose to focus on those and make something positive out of what I am given. 

Tribute time! What final words do you want to leave for your teacher?

Matt

Sheesh I don’t even really know where to start. Actually that’s a lie. Freshman year was really rough for me because of some things that were happening outside of school. Early on, Dr. Davis could tell something was up and she was there to help pull me out of it, not only as a musician but just as a person. She encouraged me to never lose sight of the light at the end of the tunnel and that’s something I keep in mind every single day. 

I was also a pretty shy guy when it came to performing, and she pushed me out of that shell. She would always tell me that a good trumpet player has to act like you’re the best person on the stage at any moment, even if that’s not how you feel. She made me learn to be confident and command the stage, and that’s something I also keep in my mind. 

 

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As for Raboy, oh man… He pushed me in ways I didn’t know I could be pushed hahaha. He was tough but it was always to help me become a better trumpet player, especially the last year of college. Originally my degree recital had an entirely different repertoire that I wasn’t too enthusiastic about, and he was helping me prepare for it. He could tell I wasn’t feeling the rep so he told me to go out and find pieces I want to play, so that’s what I did. I practiced them for a while, got pretty confident in how I was playing, and then we started having weekly coaching sessions. I remember that first session. I went in thinking I would be ready to play the show in a week, but man he broke the pieces down in a way that made me reevaluate that, which of course is a good thing. I was happy with how I was playing, but after even just a few sessions, Raboy had me feeling like Wynton Marsalis on that stage. 

Both Davis and Raboy pushed me to become the musician I am today and I promise you I wouldn’t be here without them. They were tough when they needed to be, and a friend when I needed one and for that I will be eternally grateful. I hope that I’ll be able to pass that forward someday.

Kelley

Aw man, I can’t even begin to express how much thankfulness and love I have for Dr. Wilkes, but I’ll try. I met Dr. Wilkes in a time where I needed someone like her in my life. With her big aura and personality that you could literally feel the moment you stepped into her office. She gave me a safe space where I could work and experiment without fear of anything. She basically took the small, introverted girl, put her in front of a mirror, and slowly but surely showed her what she could do and be. She essentially said, “This is what I see, and I’ll help you see it too.” She gave me the pieces, tools, and education that would get me there. 

Dr. Wilkes, if you ever read this, know that you have taught me so much more than how to sing and I’m so so so grateful for everything that you have done for me. I only wish to one day have the same aura you do that people can feel when they enter the same space as me. 

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So, let’s move away from school for a minute. What are some of your hobbies? (When we’re not sheltering-in-place that is!) 

Matt 

Baseball, basketball, soccer…anything sports-related. Actually, speaking of sports, I have a shoe collection, too, which is probably my biggest hobby. It’s mostly Nike, except for the dress shoes, and I have almost 70 pairs now, still in their original boxes. I wear all but four pairs on a regular basis; those four pairs are limited editions I don’t want to mess up. For dress shoes, I prefer Italian-made. They’re just better quality.

Kelley 

I love to read. I haven’t had the time since I started college, but that hasn’t stopped me from buying books over the years. I also really enjoy watching period films and old movies and musicals. Baking is a big favorite of mine, too.

What plans do you have as soon as life resumes a bit of normalcy? 

Matt 

I’m actually taking next year off and working at the SPCA in San Francisco, then I’m hoping to get into UC Davis’ dual program so I can get a degree in music rehabilitation as well as veterinary medicine. My plan is to combine them in my career, which many people don’t realize you can do–veterinary medicine and music? But a lot of times the animals who come into the clinics are really scared, hyped up, and anxious. I want to be able to use music to help them relax and comfort them, and then ultimately help heal them.

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Kelley 

As of right now I have two things that I really want to do when this is all over and things are more normal. I want to have a get-together with family and friends and be able to stand next to them and hug them instead of the current 6-feet rule and no touching. I would also like to just wander around any and all stores that would be open then so that I can just experience shopping with others again. 

Work-wise, my dream career is to be an actor. I would love to be on-stage in opera, musical theatre, or both. Also, if I ever got the opportunity to voice a Disney princess I would so do it, no questions asked. But as of right now I don’t know where I’m going. I’m looking for jobs with theatres and other performing opportunities that could get me in the right direction. It’s a little scary right now but I’m finding my way. And I’ll stick to music while I get there.

If you could go back to Freshman You and encourage them, what would you say?

Matt

There’s a lot I would say. Something like, “Don’t let the naysayers get in your head. There’s gonna be a lot of challenges, but just push through. Never give up. Don’t take anything for granted–take the chance. Do it. You don’t want regrets later.”

Kelley 

I would tell her that even though it has been a rough year there are better things coming. “What happened this past year was a lot and it’ll take a while to feel normal and happy but it’s coming. Experiences and moments that will build you back up and then make you grow–grow into the you that you’ve been needing to be. It’s coming, I promise, just wait.”

 

 

Stay Still and Trust 

By: David Arriaza

When I was still in high school, I had a history teacher who taught me a very important lesson. We were getting ready to take a midterm exam the whole class had been dreading for weeks, and we were all quite stressed and unhappy. Before administering the exam, the teacher stood in front of the class and said, “don’t worry, in the great ocean that is your life this test is just a small drop of water”. This statement changed my perspective and I’ve been able to rely on it ever since. 

Even though current times might be confusing or hard to get used to, it’s important to remember God is on our side and when you put things in perspective, problems start to look a lot smaller. Sometimes, stressing and worrying is only detrimental to your health and well-being, and only leads to more anxiety. This might be a good time to remember and take to heart the words God said to the Israelites when He said, “you need only to be still”.  

“Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” – Exodus 14:13-14