Westminster Choir Blog - A Student's Perspective
Name: Tsarina Islam
Hometown: Dallas, TX
Major: Music Education
Teacher: Rochelle Ellis
Voice Part: Alto 1
Class Year: Junior(ish)
Professional plans after graduation
This is such a hard question. It’s bad enough I have to figure out my life during school, much less after it. Maybe grad school? Maybe teaching before grad school? I know I want to keep getting more education, but I don’t know when or what for quite yet.
Composers I admire
For choral stuff? Rachmaninoff, Beethoven, Bach, and Perotin are pretty cool. Frank Ticheli is pretty awesome as well as Adam Gorb for orchestral stuff. Beethoven’s symphonies are definitely some of my favorite. For clarinet writing, I love Gershwin and Saint Saëns. Opera? Wagner all the way.
It’s funny. Everyone who goes here says they knew some alumni who told them about Westminster or persuaded them to apply, but I just did some good, ol’ fashioned research. I knew I wanted to go into choral music education and Westminster Choir College is one of the best (if not the best) in the country for that major.
Life outside of class
I work at Small World Coffee in downtown Princeton, at Talbott Library on campus, and I babysit for some families in town. That takes up the majority of my free time during the school year. However, when I have any real free time I love playing football, designing my own clothes, or writing poetry. (I would add binge-watching shows on Netflix, but that isn’t a reputable hobby just yet.)
What's on my iPod
What’s not? Honestly, I have 64 gigs on my iPod and 90 percent of my memory is taken up by pictures. I take thousands of pictures of everything. What little music I do have on there is mostly film scores: Hans Zimmer, Danny Elfman, Andrew Kaiser, Harry Gregson-Williams, some John Williams (of course), and a little John Powell. I love every genre of music except modern country and German death metal (don’t even look it up) so I have an amalgamation of everything. From Coldplay to Kanye, Ingrid Michaleson to Taylor Swift, Pentatonix to Motion City Soundtrack - it’s all there.
Notes is my all-time favorite. I’ve got a million poems on there. And Clock because I need alarms. Besides those, though, I use Snapchat and Insta a lot. I recently downloaded SpongeBob Doodle Jump because life is short, so why not?
Everything. Food is delicious and I eat way too much. Although, I’m a vegetarian so that somewhat limits what I can eat. My favorite dessert to make for myself? Nutella and cream cheese french toast sandwiches. Sounds questionable, but it’s perfection in a sandwich. My food philosophy is very much, “Don’t knock it ‘til you try it.” Also, I can beat you in a pepper-eating contest any day.
Last book read
Non-school-related? A book about Korea’s history and culture. Last fiction book was Game of Thrones (George R.R. Martin is the man).
If you were trapped on a desert island, who/what would you like to have with you?
If this is a practical question, water and Emily Sung. Water because safe freshwater is hard to come by when you’re surviving in the wild and Emily Sung, because I’m pretty sure she could survive any situation life throws at her (she’s a Princeton U/Westminster alum). If this is a sentimental question, I’d say a notebook and my stuffed cougar, because I think I’d write pretty stellar poetry if I was stranded on a desert island, but I’d also need something to cuddle with.