by Becky St. Clair
Sophie Jalomo is a senior music and business major from Fresno who didn’t end up quite where she expected. She is our choral librarian, creating and keeping order amongst the shelves and shelves of choir music, and plans to graduate in spring 2022. We are thrilled to have her in our department for another year, and were so glad she shared her experiences and thoughts with us.
Why did you choose PUC?
Each of my siblings went to the same university for college, and because of this, the school wanted to make us their poster children. I felt like I was being pushed to go there, and decided that was not the reason that I should go to any particular school. So I began searching for peace about which school to attend. Even after meeting with a counselor in financial aid, not knowing how I was going to pay my tuition, I had complete peace about choosing PUC. That’s why I’m here–because God gave me the peace that I was meant to be here.
You started out a business major. What drew you to music?
The first class I took with the music department was group voice class with Dr. Anderson. I have always loved singing, but I felt handicapped when it came to music, so I wanted to learn more. A good friend of mine told me that I should try out for choir, but I was really scared to. Then Dr. A asked me to audition, and after some work, I joined Chorale and Vox Pro Musica (VPM). I was hooked. It quickly became a passion, and I couldn’t stay away! I still wanted to learn more about music, so I began poking around and asking questions. I loved how passionate everyone in the department was, so I asked Dr. A and some students about double majoring and if they thought it was the right choice. I then talked to my advisors about double majoring and how that would affect my getting a job after graduation. Everyone was saying the same thing: That it would be the best choice I could make for myself. Over a year later, I know I made the right decision.
Before PUC, you didn’t have a lot of experience with music performance. What inspired you to join an ensemble?
I always wanted to join a choir. I sang a little at my church, but it was basically five people trying to sing to a recording track. PUC Chorale was my first real choir. If my friend and Dr. Anderson hadn’t encouraged me to join, I would have been too afraid to join. Actually, my freshman year I auditioned for VPM. I was told that I had a good voice, but I was a soprano and she needed altos. I didn’t like that answer, so I decided to become an alto! Shortly after that I got a cold and lost my head voice, so I could only sing in my chest voice, and I became the next alto in VMP.
As a double major in both business and music, how do you think the two work together?
In some ways, they are incompatible, but I think when you apply the collaboration it takes to make music in an ensemble or group, the connections become clear. More than anything, these majors are complementary. I have had to learn completely new ways of studying and practicing, new ways of managing my time. Working with others can be challenging, but in music, it’s required that everyone is on the same page and communicating well to be able to function. That is the thing music and business have most in common.
Tell me about a music course that has really impacted you.
Oh my goodness, where do I even start? I think I would choose my basic conducting class or theory. I have learned that there is so much I do not know, and that there’s so much more to learn. With every new chapter that we study, I am blown away at things I did not know. I used to think conductors would just be able to sight-read a piece and it was fine, but now I understand how much practice and preparation go into being able to direct an ensemble. I am constantly learning something new in my music courses!
How has being part of two very different departments benefitted you?
The best part is that I get to take a break from different types of learning and questioning. I have felt that much of what I learn as a business major is mostly just logical and easily makes sense to me. With music, it is not like that. There aren’t just definitions, rules, ethics, and people; there is art. In music there is technique and variation, there are fewer black-and-white moments and more creation and personality. But for now, I get to learn the foundations of things in both areas.
Being a double major in two completely different fields has stretched me in every way. I have learned new study techniques, learned how to apply myself more effectively, and learned how to make new connections. I am much happier having both music and business as a major; it’s nice to know I can be successful as a double major and I am able to study what I am passionate about.
Who in the music department has been instrumental in making you feel at home, and how?
Honestly, everyone. Everyone was so encouraging in my transition into the music department, that they made me feel it was a joy for them to receive me into their family. My professors have worked so hard to accommodate all of us students so that we can get the classes that we need and they’re always there when we have questions or need help!
What is your career goal?
My primary goal is to have a career in business. This summer, I will be attending the Business Internship program at Kettering Health Network (KHN) in Ohio. After graduation I plan on working with them for a few years, and then branching off, hopefully, to own my own business!
Since you’re planning to focus on the business side of things, how do you think studying music will play a part in your future?
I will always have that joy that comes with being able to produce music and learn more. I love music and I want it to be part of my life forever. I want to carry these abilities that I am learning forward, and while I hope that someday I will be able to work for a music program, I love that I can make music and have understanding no matter where I end up.