My Best Preuss Memory


Brian Ponce

Brian Ponce, School News Writer

Out of all the memories I created at the Preuss School UC San Diego, my joyful experience was being allowed to write music for the Shakespeare and Fall Festival.

This memory begins in a single-bedroom apartment inside a small, enclosed bedroom. This space was where I would attend zoom classes from 8 am to 2:45 pm. One of the many classes I had was Studio Art I with Ms. Noorzay. It was the beginning of my junior year at Preuss School UC San Diego when one of the first assignments I had to finish for Studio Art was a brief synopsis of who I am/where I am artistical. I admittedly wrote in my brief synopsis that I was mediocre at drawing, but that I was a little better at creating music compositions/playing guitar. I didn’t expect anything to come out of the synopsis except for getting the credit I was required for the assignment. But out of sheer luck, Ms. Noorzay sent me a private comment on my brief synopsis assignment offering me the opportunity to create original music for the 2021 Fall Festival. At this stage, I was surprised but indecisive. I was surprised that I was going to be allowed to participate in a large school event such as Fall Festival, but I was not sure if I wanted to be part of it. Eventually, I made up my mind and I agreed to be part of the Preuss composition program, known as Art of Elan.

Before entering Art of Elan, I had been playing the guitar for almost two years. I had begun learning the guitar for myself. I never imagined that I would use my passion for anything other than to play the same three songs. Art of Elan was unique in that it highly encouraged music students to create their original pieces. I had never made an original piece in my life before joining Art of Elan. When I entered the program, my first task was to create an original piece of music for the Fall Festival, which at the time was centered around the roaring 1920s. This meant that I not only had to create an original piece for the festival, but it had to be in a certain genre to align with the Festival’s theme. At first, I panicked; trying everything I knew during my first two years of playing guitar to create a new song. With the help of my Art of Elan instructor, Diego Rodriguez, I became enlightened with new music-theoretical ideas such as the circle of fifths, which would help make the composition process a little more manageable. The timing was another factor that made me stressed over creating the Fall Festival composition. I learned to cram in 20 minutes every day after school to come up with one section of the piece I was composing. Now this all might seem like a nightmare, but it was fun to challenge myself by creating new ideas practically on the spot.

By the end of the composition process, I amazed myself by completing the whole piece in less than a month. By this point of the process, the Art of Elan program collaborated with the Drama Department to provide the final critique on my composition. I felt relieved when I heard that everyone was pleased with my piece. It was also great to hear constructive criticism from my Art of Elan peers and faculty. In October, the Fall Festival premiered over zoom in a film format. Since the festival was being broadcast over zoom, I quickly told my family to watch it with me since my music was going to be featured in the production. Since this was the first time I ever contributed to the Fall Festival, I was admittedly nervous about people’s reactions to hearing my music. Once I heard my music being played in the production, I stopped caring about what others thought and I appreciated the Fall Festival film.

Working with Art of Elan was one of my favorite memories at Preuss. I am grateful to Ms. Noorzay for granting me the opportunity to participate in the Fall Festival, Shakespeare Festival, and Festival of the Arts. I am grateful to my Art of Elan instructor Diego for teaching me the fundamentals of music, which not only helped me create original compositions for school productions, but to also practice my creativity in other topics such as creative writing. It has been a pleasure to have been allowed to attend the Preuss School UCSD, but I am most grateful for the faculty and friends I got to meet throughout my time at Preuss.