I have been a member of DS since the Spring of 2013. I stayed after the first semester finished because it was so much fun to learn and then do performances with such a talented community of people.
I found gamelan from a flyer while browsing for a fun course in the music department at Queens College. During my first “class” I was totally blown away by what gamelan was. After that, I hit the ground running and somehow learned four pieces and even did a few shows with DS at the end of that semester. It was something I didn’t know I was capable of and that was a very good feeling that has stayed with me since.
I really like the mental challenge it takes to really learn and understand the structure of a piece for gamelan and how it all fits together with what each musician does. I feel like I learn new details each time I play something I’ve learned previously. Presently, I’m really interested in Balinese dance. I was lucky to take part in a summer intensive which DS held in 2014. We explored more of the technical aspects of gamelan music, as well as dance while there. Something clicked for me in the dance workshops and left a strong impression – it became something that I really wanted to pursue.
When I’m not playing gamelan or dancing, I work as a teaching assistant for special needs pre-schoolers who share my love of making loud music and silly dancing. In between that, my primary passion is science. I am a co-researcher and handle the logistics on a long-term ecological project during the summer months in Queens, NY. It is entirely volunteer-run and focuses on turtles in our own local national wildlife refuge, namely Diamondback terrapins. They are very charismatic turtles and you can find out more about them on our project website: http://jbtr.org