Alumni showcase musical talents at Torrey Conference

During last week’s Torrey Conference, former students returned to campus to serenade students in between sessions.


Bree Mays // THE CHIMES

Alumna Arielle Howell and Talbot student Ray Quiñones collaborate to present raw, meaningful folk tracks heavily inspired by nature’s beauty.

Kayla Santos, Arts & Entertainment Editor

(This story was originally published in print on Oct. 17, 2019).

Last Wednesday, acoustic reverb and warm vocals flooded the Fireplace Pavilion. While Biolans waited in lines for Torrey sessions and participated in other conference festivities, former students returned to the Eddy stage to showcase their original music. From acoustic folk to pop, the artists presented a diversity of genres while remaining true to their unique sounds. 


Former Biola student Arielle Howell, who graduated in Spring 2018 with a degree in biological sciences, and Talbot student Ray Quiñones serenaded listeners with dreamy folk. During Howell’s time at Biola, the two often jammed out on Metzger Lawn, which didn’t stop once she graduated. Drawing inspiration from the beauty of nature, their collaboration exuded a Jack Johnson-esque, go-with-the-flow soundscape. 

Howell appreciates the safe space music creates for her to process through life situations. She believes God uses music to speak to her, as he gives her the words to say when she is unsure of her feelings.

“It’s almost like [God is] writing letters to me, and he helps me process through my feelings when I don’t know what to say,” Howell said. “I sing [lyrics], and the Holy Spirit’s inspiration gives me words that I can actually look at and understand.” 

Quiñones also sees music as a natural creative outlet.

“I think music is like breathing,” Quiñones said. 

The pair enjoyed performing their originals in between conference sessions. Comparing it to returning home, Howell and Quiñones felt in their place as they performed their mellow guitar and ukulele-saturated tracks. While they love collaborating with one another, they also hope to individually release singles and EPs before next spring. 


Following Howell and Quiñones, Justin Sinclair, who graduated in Fall 2018 with a degree in music composition, took listeners on an acoustic adventure, as he performed originals from his Brother James project, which is largely inspired by the lifestyle of monks. Whether he draws inspiration from monasticism or personal experiences, Sinclair’s thoughtful music feels like it comes from the depths of his heart. 

Out of all the songs he performed for his set, Sinclair favors “I Had to Dig,” where he sings about his deepest beliefs. Through his music, he seeks to inspire people to live rich, meaningful lives. 

“Love cannot be stagnant and will always crave more, so I’ll savor the good that I’ve given, hold loose the things I’d like to keep, and I’ll give all I have in search for freedom and live to set other prisoners free,” Sinclair sang in the song’s chorus.


With her soulful vocals and electric presence, Judy Kim, who graduated in Spring 2018 with a degree in music, rocked the stage before the conference’s main evening session. Although she graduated over one year ago, anyone who attended Biola at the same time as Kim could recognize her powerful, Adele-like voice in an instant. Similar to her peers, Kim looks to music to express her feelings.

“Because I feel so intensely, the only way that I could relieve [my feelings] is by creating something and having it be an outlet,” Kim said. 

As she works in the secular music industry, she is thankful that her professors at Biola equipped her to stand firm in Christ no matter the setting. By writing songs out of her own experiences and her friends’ experiences, Kim wants listeners to remember that they are not alone. 

A common thread in the artists’ performances was their recognition of Biola as home. Sofia Franco, who graduated in Spring 2018 with a degree in communication studies, felt right at home when she presented an array of acoustic covers and originals.

“With Biola, it’s always going to be home for me, and even when the day has come when I’m such a has-been on campus that I don’t know any students, I’m still going to feel like I belong here,” Franco said. 

While each artist walks different paths after graduation, they can all agree on one thing—Biola is home.

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