Meet Sanjay! As a 2015 Arts Award Recipient and an active member of the Boston College music scene, he has plenty of art stories to share. Read on as he reflects upon his BC art experiences. Spoiler Alert: you may spot Sanjay on stage with bOp! a couple of times during the 2016 Arts Festival! Don’t miss BC bOp!’s free performance on Friday, April 29th at 12:00pm in the O’Neill Plaza, and definitely don’t miss the swirled-dance-and-music-extravanganza that is…
Dancing with bOp! 2016, this Saturday, April 30th, at 8:00pm in the O’Neill Plaza. All Students get in for FREE with your Eagle ID, and tickets are available at the door for the general public ($15, or $10 for senior citizens).
In what ways have you been involved in the arts at Boston College?
I’ve heavily involved myself with music here at BC. Since my freshman year, I’ve been heavily involved in the BC Bands program here as a percussionist. I’ve been an Executive Board Member and Percussion Section Leader of the Symphonic Band (affectionately known as SymBa), Drumline Section Leader in the BC Marching Band, and a drum set player in both BC bOp! and the Pep Band.
Lately, however, I’ve also been taking classical music composition very seriously, studying with Professor Ralf Gawlick, which eventually led to my Senior Composition Thesis – a work for Symphonic Band, which was premiered on April 12th.
I’ve also been doing some music teaching around BC. I currently volunteer as a Student Mentor at St. Columbkille through the BC Bands Service Group and assist our percussion instructors in teaching the Percussion Tech class, or winter drumline. I also love to attend other concerts with groups I’m not involved in, keeping my ears filled with the music made by my friends.
What has participating in the arts meant to you during your time at BC?
Well, in January I decided to leave my pre-medical studies behind to pursue graduate school in music composition. So perhaps being so engrossed in music at BC caused an entire career change for me! Musical and artistic processes also require me to pour 100% of myself into them. My time at BC has definitely taught me a lot about my weaknesses and strengths as an artist, leader, and teacher. Speaking with all of my teachers, professors, and directors about musical leadership has also helped me become more aware of my role as a musician.
Studying composition, in particular, has kept me engaged in the artistic process. I really like being around artists at BC too, because they are so well-rounded and willing to discuss their art. For example, I compose more modern classical music, but my friend likes to write music for musical theater, and my roommate writes screenplays, short stories, television scripts, and comedy. The three of us really enjoy speaking to each other about our work, and discussing different problems in the creative process.
Who or what inspires you and why?
My teachers and mentors have definitely been huge role models for me, encouraging me to keep working hard in music, whether with composition, conducting, or teaching. The work that they all do is fascinating, and they greatly influence me. My family has also been so supportive, and they keep me motivated to continue in my musical path. Other than that, my friends and I who are involved in the arts help push each other, and keep each other in check. I really enjoy our lively discussions about art.
What is your most memorable arts experience and what did you learn from it?
Tuesday, April 12, 2016 is a day that I’ll never forget. That night was the premiere of my senior composition thesis with Symphonic Band. This 15-minute piece for wind band is titled Visions of Marian Rose, and it’s a reflection and meditation on conflicting emotions that occur during my involvement in my family’s medical mission work on our home island of Iloilo in the Philippines. Marian Rose World Mission has teamed with LIG Global Foundation to bring our volunteer services to Iloilo each January for the past four years, focusing on women’s health and well-being issues, providing medical and surgical services to less fortunate women and young girls with limited access to necessary health assistance.
The premiere itself was emotional to say the least – the energy in that room was incredibly spiritual. It was really scary to share and conduct this extremely personal work with so many people in the audience and Symphonic Band, but I felt the love and support of the people in Trinity Chapel that night. My family and some of the mission workers were also there to experience that special moment. I’m still processing all of it a few days later, but it’s something for which I’m eternally grateful to everyone involved – audience, mission workers, teachers and musicians alike. That night really taught me that so many people go into art, including the source of inspiration, parents, teachers, friends, supporters, and performers.
What are you most looking forward to for this year’s Arts Festival?
I’m looking forward to seeing my fellow seniors perform all over BC – I really appreciate their camaraderie and friendship over the past four years. We all love to see each other’s events and works, and this Arts Fest is a great culmination of our work. Although SymBa is not performing at Arts Fest this year, I’ll be playing with BC bOp! on Friday, April 29th at 12:00 PM and at Dancing with bOp! on Saturday, April 30th at 8:00 PM.