Rowan College at Gloucester County (RCGC) graduate Liva Savaiinaea, of Paulsboro, is all smiles during the College's 50th Commencement ceremony on Thursday, May 16. Savaiinaea, who earned an associate degree in music, will continue his musical journey at Rowan University — a trek that has taken this talented young man from American Samoa to New Jersey, and across the bridge to play with the Philadelphia Orchestra.
"Just across the river from our campus is one of the top orchestras in the nation. Because they have the single best student deal in the country, every semester I show my students the website," said Dr. Natalka Pavlovsky, RCGC music professor. "Last fall, on that prestigious homepage, I saw the face of one of our music majors featured on The Philadelphia Orchestra's website."
While in high school, Savaiinaea had been selected to work one-on-one with the orchestra's flutist. At RCGC, he excelled academically and continued to perform after class, rehearsing with the Rowan University Orchestra. This past December, Savaiinaea was named a finalist and the second-place public vote winner of the Eugene Magalif International Flute Concerto Competition, a world-wide competition with 16 contestants selected as finalists and only four from the United States. He is currently principal second flute with the Philadelphia Wind Symphony.
Academically and musically Savaiinaea's dedication and enthusiasm shines. In May during the RCGC Awards Ceremony, he received the President's Award for Excellence in his program of study. Before presenting Savaiinaea with the honor, Pavlovsky recognized his grandmother sitting in the audience, who had traveled from New Zealand to see him graduate.
"My father, who came to America from a foreign country, has always instilled hard work and dedication in academics, and in any other extracurricular activities that my siblings and I participate in, which I always apply to anything I partake in," said Savaiinaea. "Music has been a comfort blanket in my life, always being there for me to express myself creatively. Having a strong support system behind me as I embark on this musical journey, such as Dr. Pavlovsky and my father, has been of the upmost importance."
For more information about RCGC's Arts and Sciences Music Option, visit RCGC.edu/LiberalArts.
Rowan College at Gloucester County's 250-acre campus is located on Tanyard Road in Deptford, just off Exit 56 of Route 55.