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Meet Emilio Sandoval!
Emilio is in his second season with Choral Arts Initiative and sings in the tenor section.
So, tells us more about you!
I am 22 years old and am currently finishing my B.M. in Music Education (Choral/Voice) degree at the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music (CSULB). I am of Nicaraguan descent and can speak a good deal of Spanish I try to be involved in the choral arts as much as I can in various events around me such as choirs, workshops, etc. I am also obsessed with pop culture; I love to look at it with non-superficial lenses.
What is your most marked characteristic?
I would say that my most marked characteristic is my obsession with learning. You can ask any of my close friends and they will tell you stories of how I stay up late at night because I was busy learning about something historic or innovative in whichever world of art. And again, I would also tack on that I am obsessed with intelligent, female pop stars (i.e. Lady Gaga). Everyone loves a strong, outspoken woman!
If you could have dinner with any composer (dead or alive), who would it be?
You would think that my first inclination is to say Claude Debussy (because I am French at heart, and his music, in my opinion, played a huge part in bridging the past styles of music with that of the present). But I think my answer, in this moment, would have to be John Cage. I am so drawn to the way he speaks about music, and he reminds me a bit about myself in the way that he gives his opinions in honor of something he truly believes is bigger than himself. His love and passion for what he studied was rooted in a joy for music...like a child. I see him criticized, questioned, and misunderstood in old interviews and current lectures. But I would have dinner with him because I would want to share a moment and have a conversation with someone who revolutionized the way we hear music when we free our minds. Free from judgement, free from subconscious order, and free from a mentality that thinks that something isn't beautiful. I would love to meet someone who truly devoted his own life to creating life in what's always been around us (and our subconscious has simply shut out).
"The first question I ask myself when something doesn't seem to be beautiful is why do I think it's not beautiful. And very shortly you discover there is no reason." - John Cage
What does passion mean to you?
For me, passion is a devotion to making a statement about something you truly believe in (in my own case, my philosophies and opinions about the world around me). Passion is also a love to want to express something that you believe has the power to make a difference in someone's (or something's) life. Sure, I just want to be a choral director. But more importantly I want to be a choral conductor because I KNOW that I can touch the lives of others just as the teachers before me have touched mine. I would not be where I am without the guidance of teachers, authors, artists. No way. I owe my whole life to them, and I feel passionate enough about art and the love given to me that I want to share it with the generations to come.
What is your best or most inspiring memory (musical or otherwise)?
My most inspiring memory trails back to my senior year of high school. I had gotten accepted into the ACDA High School National Honor Choir in the mail, and was so overjoyed to have been picked to be one of the representatives of my school. When I took my letter to church choir I showed it to my director (also my choir director from school), Mrs. Morrison. She asked, "did you get in?!" and I said yes. She gave me a huge hug and was tearing up while she just "YES" in a very grateful voice. That moment can never leave my mind because it was a representation of my emotional, musical journeys during high school...and their successes. I was a boy who couldn't match pitch my freshman year, and went on to traveling to Oklahoma, CA to perform in the national conference. I try to remember that day whenever I feel like things seem impossible.
When did you begin your musical training? Why do you believe that music education is so important?
My freshman year of high school was the first time I was exposed to any formal study of music; I was 14 at the time. I never regret coming to it, and it is so hard to put into words what music can do for you. I believe that music education is important because it provides access to an art that can trigger the best parts of ourselves. It can culture you in a way that your common core classes simply cannot do. For personal and social development this is vital! It really can change the world.
Who or what inspired you to make singing a part of your life?
My high school choir director, Mrs. Morrison (or Melva to those who weren't her student). As much as I came upon realizing that I had great potential to make singing a part of my life, it would have never have happened without her belief system in me. When I was in high school I had NEVER met someone so genuinely trusting in my beliefs as a person. She made me feel like I could do anything. And this confidence given to me has helped me through so many insecurities about becoming a successful musician/teacher.
Which author or poet touches you deeply?
This is such a difficult question to answer because there are so many! I guess in this moment I would say Rainer Maria Rilke. I find myself always concealing what is going on in my head, and reading the words of someone who, I believe, has gone through what I am feeling is so comforting. Even though his artistic medium was poetry and literature, the reflection of himself resonates with me (a musician) so much. It honestly has me on the verge of tears when I can read his work and feel like I am reading my own diary. And yet, he serves as a genius advice-giver. I definitely recommend his work to those who are very lost in their thoughts and/or looking for inspiration.
Outside of music, what brings you great joy?
Well if I am being perfectly honest I would say spending time with my boyfriend. If you ask any of my close friends they will tell you how much I WASN'T into the idea of dating before meeting him. It's such a blessing being able to be in love with someone who I feel safe enough to open up to, and who genuinely believes in me as a person. I love him so much!! (and he is a CAI member....!!!)
What achievement(s) are you most proud of at this point in your life?
At this point in my life I would have to say that reaching the end of my undergraduate degree schooling is the achievement I am most proud of. My parents have given up so much so that I could have an education. I am now proud to say that at the end of this semester I will be the first in my family to have received a college degree. Preschool seems like it was just yesterday...now look at me!!!
Lorraine Joy Welling