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First-year conservatory student grateful for loaner tuba

Jolene Villavicencio at home with the tuba the Conservatory of Music loaned her.

Jolene Villavicencio at home with the tuba the Conservatory of Music loaned her.

Welcome to University of the Pacific’s Conservatory of Music, Jolene Villavicencio. 

And here is a tuba for you.

Villavicencio ’24 said she’s never had such a feeling as when a UPS delivery person walked up the sidewalk to her family’s home in Oak Hills in Southern California pushing a dolly. 

“The package was huge and it was such a great feeling,” said Villavicencio, who will major in music therapy. “Playing a big instrument can be tough when you don’t have your own. But they were able to ship one right to my door. 

“I have only been a part of the conservatory for a month or two, but already I can see the great lengths to which they will travel to help their students grow and shine, especially during the uncertain times. 

Villavicencio comes from a tuba family. Her sister, Jessica, played tuba in the high school band. Jolene was a trumpet player until the tuba ranks thinned because of graduation.

“We only had one tuba player in a big high school band, so my band director came up to me and asked if I would like to try the tuba,” she said. “I really took to it right away. It is a challenging but very fun instrument to play.” 

Villavicencio also has dabbled in playing keyboards and guitar and is always up for music challenges. 

The arrival of the tuba has eased her mind about distance learning in her first term of college. 

“I have a little area set up in my room and I am ready to go,” she said. 

The conservatory has set up students with instruments during distance learning and before. Earlier this summer, several pianos and marimbas were delivered to students’ homes in Northern California. 

Steve Perdicaris, associate professor of practice in trombone and director of operations for the conservatory, has been instrumental—pun intended—in equipping those students in need.

"It's great to see the excitement and joy in a student's face when they receive our beautiful new instruments,” Perdicaris said. “Very few music schools in the country offer this kind of support."   

He said there are 30 instruments checked out. For local students or those who live in proximity to Stockton, they meet at Buck Hall to sign loaner agreements and pick up the instruments while practicing social distancing. More instruments will be shipped before fall classes begin. 

“When the pandemic started, we delivered one upright piano and three Clavinovas to finish out the spring semester,” Perdicaris wrote in an email. “Students have held on to those instruments over the summer as needed. In addition, we have loaned one soprano saxophone, one tenor saxophone, one alto saxophone, two rotary trumpets, three cornets, one flute, one bassoon, one guitar, one drum set, one xylophone, three marimbas, one vibraphone, two oboes, one tuba, one French horn, one natural horn and four computer/keyboards. As more new instruments arrive, they will be distributed to students in need.”

Speaking of tubas 
The Conservatory of Music also received a shipment of tubas and expressed its gratitude on Twitter: 

“New tubas are here! Norm Chapman’s (’46) $1.15 million estate gift will improve the sound of Pacific for decades to come. The tubas, a @MiraphoneGerman 181 ‘Belcanto’ F tuba and two B&S PT6 CC piston tubas, are the newest members of our Chapman collection of instruments!” 

Dean Peter Witte also tweeted: “Three new tubas? How can you not smile? Happy day at @UOPacific / @MusicAtPacific.”