The email came the Monday before my senior recital, as I began preparing in earnest to stage my Ammerman Senior Integrative Project in addition to rehearsing with piano instructor Patrice Newman, my accompanist. “Dear Saadya, I am wondering if you might play your Carl Stamitz: Reimagined concerto for Clarinet and Audience at the [Camel Day] Music Forum on April 22 at 9:15 a.m. in Oliva Hall?” Admitted students are invited to Camel Days each year to help them get better acquainted with the College.

Four years ago, I visited Conn as a high school senior for my first Camel Day, where I also attended an annual Music Department panel. I was initially unsure if I wanted to continue playing music after high school, but my mother encouraged me to go since it was the most relevant panel for me to attend at 9 a.m. I was very impressed when I heard Emily Verschoor-Kirss ’15 perform a piece for solo saxophone; it was clear to me that Conn had some very skilled musicians.

Looking at the aforementioned email I received in April, I was honored that Professor of Music John Anthony, the chair of the Department of Music, was considering me for this role. The next evening I ran into Professor Anthony at a rehearsal of the Connecticut College Orchestra. I was concerned that my Senior Integrative Project, which involves playing a piece at various volumes and tempos in response to audience reaction, was too complex to present for the Camel Days Music Forum. Instead, he and I settled on performing together two movements from the Five Bagatelles for Clarinet and Piano by Gerald Finzi. I will also be playing part of this with him at the Baccalaureate service the day before Commencement.

Despite my usual nerves before a show, I received a warm and enthusiastic round of applause after performing the first of the two movements. I enjoyed sharing the wonderful experiences I’ve had in the music department with the students and parents. Talking about the wide variety of activities I’ve engaged in: Orchestra, music lessons, New Music Chamber Ensemble, attending concerts and recitals, and working with regional companies in the arts, made me stop and realize I’ve had an incredible amount of involvement in the arts since coming to Connecticut College.

Four years ago as an admitted student at the Camel Day Music Forum, what immediately struck me during the panel was the friendly and inviting manner of everyone on it. Later in the day I met professors Anthony and Midge Thomas who both strongly encouraged me to pursue music studies. The welcoming air of the music department faculty is one of the reasons I chose to attend Conn and later attended auditions at New Student Orientation. This is what set me on a path to my performance minor and the opportunity to perform a senior recital and at Camel Days this semester.