The Society of Musical Arts (SOMA) is a student organization whose main purpose is to support student musicians on campus. Their goal thus far has been to get involved with anything that involves music on campus. They are working towards building relationships with many of the student clubs on campus, and have already built working relationships with established groups like Gigabeats and Saavan.
SOMA was established in 2014 with about 20 students; now, the club boasts of over two hundred active members, including students and faculty. They are currently composed of a Jazz Ensemble, a Wind Ensemble, a String Ensemble, a Pep Band (which plays at NJIT games), and other student groups including Gigabeats, Saavan, and Winter’s Contingency.
Kevin Milfort-Sanchez, an NJIT sophomore—and recently elected president of SOMA—commented on the creative atmosphere at NJIT, and how SOMA plans to improve it: “A lot of things you see on campus is just academics and focus on studies, there’s no real outlets for students to either go out and artistically express themselves or go and listen to other people and the things they have to offer. What we want to do is bring forth a community where students can go and present their talents.”
SOMA has already hosted six concerts this semester and has collaborated with other clubs like the Student Activities Council (SAC), NJIT Dance Team, and WJTB radio on other events. A major focus of their events this semester has been securing New Jersey based acts. “There are many amazing musicians right here within a 50-mile radius” said Kevin, “[They] are more than willing to come perform for students and we really want to tap into that source.”
Talking about the concerts they organized and their plans for the future, Kevin says “what we mainly go for is variety. We had +5 which was more of a jazz, old school kind of band along with Winter’s Contingency, which is a newer pop-rock kind of group.” This semester, SOMA also hosted alternative rock band Inversion Circus and R&B singer Bri Nicole to give a well-rounded musical experience on campus.
Although most of the students who are part of the club are either instrumentalists or vocalists, opportunities are available for non-players as well. Students who do not play but are interested and want to be involved with the club are welcomed to join and help with organizing events and other club logistics. “We look for people that can help us plan events, concerts, and stuff like that and people who can help us find groups to perform,” said Kevin.
For students who are interested in learning an instrument, there are players in the club who are willing to help with that. “We have many faculty members, including the instructors for the ensemble, as well as students who are very proficient on their instruments and are more than willing to take on any person who is new to the instrument or struggling, mentor them, and help them [to] grow on the instrument” said Kevin. “The bands are open to students who want to come and play. There is no set commitment that you have to be at every meeting. You just have to be willing to work on the music and [if you want to perform], you have to be ready to perform well with the rest of the group.”
From their recent progress and track record since forming, it is evident that SOMA is here to stay. They are a club with a vision, and with the support and interest of our student body, along with the growing art scene at NJIT and with the Student Senate’s increasing interest in investing more funds into club organized events, NJIT is set to see a transformation in student life on campus.
For more information, the club can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jazz Band – Meets Tuesday 7-9pm in Campus Center B35
Wind Ensemble – Meets Wednesday 4-6pm in Campus CKB 116
String Ensemble – Meets Thursday 4-6pm in CKB 116