This is the thirty-eighth installment of a new chapter in our Student Features series on the blog that we will be posting leading up to the 2017 Music for All National Festival, presented by Yamaha. Music for All will be featuring three honor ensembles (Honor Band of America, Honor Orchestra of America, and the Jazz Band of America) at the Music for All National Festival, March 9th through March 11th. We look forward to getting to know all of these wonderful students who have been accepted into these prestigious ensembles!


Name: Ian Jef Bongalonta

Hometown: Goose Creek, SC

School Name: Goose Creek High School

Instrument: Bassoon

Which Ensemble Are You In?
Honor Band of America

What made you decide to apply to be a part of the ensemble?
I have some good friends in my youth orchestra (Charleston Symphony Youth Orchestra) and All-State Band who have played in the Music for All Honor Ensembles and enjoyed the experience. Participating in different ensembles and meeting people with the same love and passion for music as I is one of my favorite things about music!

What are three things you’ve learned from being involved in band or orchestra?
1) Balancing academics and ensembles is hard, but very rewarding.
2) Music is one of the best ways to express yourself and perform your emotions and ideas.
3) Performing with different people is one of the best ways to get best friends.

Most memorable moment in band or orchestra?
When my friend and I approached Dale Clevenger (principal horn of the Chicago Symphony for 47 years!) after an orchestra clinic and he gave us a little private concert. That moment, one I’ll never forget, inspired me to become a better musician!

Besides band/orchestra, what are you involved in at school?
I’m currently the Vice President of my school’s Beta Club, and compete in academic competitions in English and Science.

What book have you read that you would recommend?
A Separate Peace by John Knowles

What’s your favorite song or piece of music?
Bassoon: Bonneau, Caprice en forme de valse
Band: Maslanka, Give us this Day
Orchestra: Rimsky-Korsakov, Scheherazade
Musical: either How Far I’ll Go from Moana or Don’t Rain on my Parade from Funny Girl

Favorite ice cream flavor?
The type with the chunks of peanut butter in it.

What’s your favorite non-music related hobby or past time?
As an amateur linguist, I am obsessed with learning foreign languages, especially by reading Classics in Latin. I also make the funniest Snapchats.

What’s one piece of advice you’d give a friend who needs some inspiration or motivation?
Enjoy everything you do, and everything comes naturally.

What’s your current plan for what you want to do after graduating high school?
I want to do what I love and go into either Bassoon Performance/Music Education, or Linguistics.

Have you participated in MFA/BOA events before? Which ones?
This is my first one!

Tell us something interesting/unique about you:
I have color synesthesia, which means that I perceive certain colors when reading specific letters. For example, the letter “t” is always dark red, “h” is always bright orange, and the number “7” is always yellow to me. Sometimes, colors also appear when I read music notes. I also have perfect pitch, and can understand three languages and read four.