SGA Speaker pro tempore finds voice through music composition

Joshua Arnoldy, senior in music composition, conducts a piece in the All Faith's Chapel. (Photo courtesy Aryan Tayal)

Joshua Arnoldy, senior in music composition, did not have Kansas State University in mind as his first choice for a college.

Originally from Downs, Kansas, he was accepted to Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts, a dream come true, but the tuition was unaffordable so K-State was the best option.

Arnoldy said attending K-State has allowed him to be involved in many activities beyond the music program.

During his time at K-State, he has been a resident assistant and a member of Delta Chi fraternity. He currently holds the office of Speaker pro tempore in the Student Governing Association.

Arnoldy said knew he wanted to study music in college because music has been a big part of his life since he started taking piano lessons in kindergarten. He developed a passion for the saxophone in the fifth grade.

As a music composition major, Arnoldy said the biggest challenge he’s faced is balancing his time in terms of involvement and making time for composition.

“You never know if you sitting down to write is gonna be hit with inspiration, and it’s gonna come on the page in an hour … or if it’s gonna be a struggle to even get notes on a page,” Arnoldy said.

Joshua Arnoldy's senior recital is February 17, at 3:00 p.m. (Photo courtesy Aryan Tayal)

His senior recital, which is Sunday at 3:00 p.m. in the All Faith’s Chapel, is the culmination of a year of work: an hour filled with five different pieces composed and conducted by him.

Arnoldy said inspiration for his music comes from a variety of places places including poetry, quotations and nature.

“I think I kind of pull from a lot of different elements, I really like minimalist music, which is a lot of taking simple ideas and then expanding on that simple idea the whole time,” Arnoldy said. “A lot of what I try to do when I’m writing is take simple ideas and then just make them more interesting.”

Sometimes things just click and it’s as if it was just meant to be, at least that was the case of one of the pieces Arnoldy will be conducting, called “I Know My Soul.” The song was inspired by a poem of the same name by Claude McKay, who studied at K-State in 1912.

Joshua Arnoldy directing (Photo courtesy Aryan Tayal)

After he graduates in May, Arnoldy will move to Houston, Texas, to start his own music publishing company. He said part of the mission for his future will be creating art, music and literature with a proactive voice and a full purpose.

Arnoldy already has his own website,, where his compositions are available for purchase.

Arnoldy said his experience and involvement in various activities at K-State have been instrumental in shaping him as a musician.

“I think that’s very unique to the composer and the musician I have become, just because that has so much influence on what I want to do afterward,” Arnoldy said. “I still want to be a composer and I want to publish my own music, but my drive after K-State isn’t so much about being a composer as it is about making a difference and having my music be a means of doing that.”

My name is Rebecca Vrbas. I’m the culture editor at the Collegian and a junior in journalism and mass communications. My hobbies include obsessing over an ever-expanding pool of musicals and cats (not the musical). I love writing because of the infinite intricacy of language, as well as its power to cultivate a sense of community through sharing experiences.