Jake Nalangan Has the Key to Berklee


Katelyn Newton, Mirada Staff

Music, one of the most important aspects to many people’s lives. In most situations music has always been able to bring people together, and that’s exactly what senior Jake Nalangan prides himself on.
Nalangan has been playing music for as long as he can remember. His music journey began by playing the piano at his grandmother’s house.
Although he now has lessons pretty irregularly, he has the help of great teachers along the way to thank for his love and passion for piano.
“I transferred last year from Mira Loma to Rio specifically for the band program,” said Nalangan. “So Rio’s band has greatly affected my music career because of the opportunity to play with other great musicians, and go farther.”
The trio he plays in won a Downbeat Award for best high school small combo in the nation which is one of the greatest accomplishments they’ve so far gained. They also participated in the Monterey Next Gen Festival.
Nalangan is also apart of the AM Jazz Ensemble where he went to Savannah, Georgia to the Swing Central festival and had the opportunity to play.
“A lot of cool opportunities have been forwarded to me by being at Rio,” said Nalangan.
He also plays in the Small Ensemble, also known as Smamble, along with several other combos outside of school consisting of most of the same kids he plays with at school helping deepen their musical chemistry.
Nalangan’s day consists of zero period AM Jazz Ensemble and another period of Smamble for his fourth period.
He and Maddy both were given the opportunity to go to the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts this past summer.
“When we were in Monterey, Maddy and I auditioned for the Berkeley College of Music and we both got full scholarships to go to the camp in Boston,” said Nalangan.
The camp showcased different musicians from all around the world participating with different musical talents.
Nalangan received half a scholarship to officially attend Berklee for their music program.
“There were a lot of people from around the world there, I now have friends in Ecuador and Italy,” said Nalangan.
He also had the opportunity along with the rest of the Rio band to travel to Ireland this past summer.
“There was a lot going on for band this past summer, it was really awesome to be apart of it all,” said Nalangan.
Nalangan has many options for college and is looking at multiple universities.
“I wouldn’t say Berklee is my top choice because they’re so expensive so I also really like University of Southern California(USC), for their Jazz program, Oberlin college and conservatory of music, and University of the Pacific who also has a really great jazz program,” said Nalangan.
Nalangan’s musical trio was also chosen by Rio’s band program to be on the National Public Radio(NPR) radio.
“Rio band had been given the opportunity in the past to be on NPR so it was really cool to do something like that,” said Nalangan. “We went to Sac State and recorded there, and it was really fun but also nerve wracking because we had to get a really hard song together in two weeks so it was kind of stressful but worth it,” said Nalangan.
After going to Georgia to play in the Swing Central festival it truly hit him how much he loved music and Rio.
“After playing I knew I had made the right choice coming to Rio,” said Nalangan. “I wouldn’t have come Rio if it weren’t for the great community that they already have.”
Nalangan would frequently play at a winery while attending Mira Loma.
“We played every week or so,” said Nalangan. “I would get a band together with my friends, people from Rio, and all over Sacramento.”
Nalangan has accomplished so much and he is ready to take on new challenges and adventures.