Students plan to continue with artistic passions post-grad

by Joyce Lee | 6/10/16 7:00pm

With the approach of Commencement, students involved in the arts at Dartmouth face the challenge of pursuing different paths and careers that may not necessarily involve their artistic talents in the future. However, several members of the Class of 2016 involved in the various arts on campus are still keen to pursue their passions beyond Dartmouth.

Andrew Nalani ’16, a member of the World Music Percussion ensemble, played the conga drums as well as the djembe, an African goblet drum, and provided vocals for the group. A beginner to the instruments when he first joined the ensemble in his freshman spring through a friend, Nalani said that his involvement with the arts, which includes courses in theater, has been central to his time at Dartmouth.

Rehearsals for the ensemble gave him a chance to engage his mind in a different manner than academic studies require. Playing percussion provided him with a sense of doing something with his hands and kept his stress levels low. It also gave him the opportunity to engage with community members involved in the ensemble.

Nalani, a religion major modified with gender and environmental studies, is also a Stamps Leadership Scholar involved in a transformative project focusing on the role of the arts in social and developmental learning. The summer after graduation, he will be a program assistant for the Dickey Center for International Understanding, where he will help bring artists and entrepreneurs to Dartmouth.

In the fall, he will begin a masters program in education with a concentration in human development to see social and emotional learning in academic environments. Regarding his love for the arts, he said he wants to continue his involvement possibly with a direct leadership program in Uganda.

After his final performance with the percussion ensemble, Nalani said that he felt a sense of having grown as a musician as well as in endurance.

“There’s a sense of joy that music and performing with one another brings, [and it was] a bittersweet moment when we had to say goodbye,” Nalani said. “These are people I’ve connected with in a different way than I normally do ­­— through music and the time and energy put into rehearsal.”

Music was also a large part of Simone Wien ’16’s experience, who said there had been no question for her about pursuing it at Dartmouth. A member of the Dartmouth College Wind Ensemble, Wien said performing percussion with the group was a way to introduce friends to Western classical music, a genre that many of them did not know much about.

“I think musical appreciation is a really great grounding factor,” she said.

For Wien, the future lies in Atlanta, where she will be working for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While she will not be pursuing music professionally, Wien said that she sees music as a way to establish community very quickly.

“I’m looking for a way to use music to settle roots,” she said. “One of the quickest way to know a place is to understand the musical tradition there.”

Steven Povich ’16, who played trumpet in the Wind Ensemble, said that being able to play music in college was an important factor in his decision during his senior year of high school. Before choosing Dartmouth, he met with the ensemble’s director Matthew Marsit while the group was on a tour.

Povich will be working at a finance company in Boston after graduation. He is looking into performing with community ensembles but knows playing will be harder to fit into his life.

“It’s weird ­­— playing the trumpet is not something I wanted to give up but I don’t really know where I’ll be playing it,” Povich said. “I’m excited for the real world, but finding opportunities to play will require more initiative.”

Jinny Seo ’16, a studio art major with a concentration in painting, said her time after Dartmouth also deviates away from what she has done during her four years, despite pursuing visual art at a software service company in Dallas. Seo will be working with user-experience design, a process that deals with the interaction between a user and products such as websites or apps.

During her junior year, Seo learned about user-experience design through the Digital Arts, Leadership and Innovation Lab.

“I thought [the user-experience field presented] an interesting problem and I’ve been interested in psychology so that related as well,” she said.

Seo is unsure about how often she will paint in the future but knows it will continue to be a part of her life.

“[My feelings after finishing my portfolio] wasn’t so much related to art in general but more like the ending of college ­­­— bittersweet in that way,” Seo said.

Kathryn Waychoff ’16, an engineering major who has played with the Barbary Coast Jazz Ensemble since her freshman fall, grew up with jazz music in her home and played the jazz trumpet, an instrument her father also plays, since she was 8-years-old.

Similar to Povich, one of Waychoff’s top priorities in choosing a college was being able to continue playing music, which in her case, was jazz.

She also performed for the Dartmouth College Marching Band and volunteered with a youth wind ensemble.

Next year, Waychoff will be attending Thayer School of Engineering and plans on participating in the community ensembles. She also plans to teach on the side.

Waychoff said the jazz ensemble has been her second family at Dartmouth since 2012. While she admitted the preparation before the ensemble’s spring senior concert was stressful, she said all of the members worked to make the show the best it could possibly be.

“The Barbary Coast has been a way for me to keep myself sane because my academic studies have been really rigorous,” Waychoff said. “Having an outlet of music to funnel all your energy is a great way to take your mind off the stress, and the ensemble has been a really necessary part of my time here.”

Although not all seniors who participated in the arts at Dartmouth have plans directly involving some form of it, there is comfort in knowing most want to continue expressing their creative passions, which comprise an important piece of who they are.