I Got This

Kyla Surajbali ’23

One thing about this University is that you never know the amazing opportunities that will present themselves.

Last spring, the tour manager for The Eagles – yes, the classic rock band! –  invited the Hofstra Chamber Choir to sing backup at their concert at UBS Arena, near our campus. It was one of the most exciting nights of my life. We performed on their hit “The Last Resort.” I’ll never forget my friends and I standing on the riser and being lifted slowly onto the stage as the music was playing. The crowd went wild!

I chose to attend Hofstra over a conservatory because I wanted to be part of a community where students were studying all kinds of subjects. My classmates and I have the freedom to explore all of our interests and audition for as many of the ensembles as we can.

I’m student-teaching this semester at an elementary school and at a high school. I’m looking forward to bringing everything I’ve learned at Hofstra into my own classroom.

If your experience is anything like mine, you could find yourself performing the national anthem at commencement one semester, singing with a famous rock band the next, and then landing a part in the University opera. Good luck on your journey!


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Last spring, Kyla Surajbali got a gig that seemed too good to be true.

Kyla surajbali

A Hofstra alum who was the tour manager for The Eagles invited students from Hofstra’s Music Department to sing backup for the rock band at UBS Arena in Elmont, NY. Surajbali recruited the students from the Hofstra Chamber Choir and organized rehearsals.

“We performed on their hit ‘The Last Resort.' It was an amazing experience.”

It may have been the biggest crowd she’s ever performed for, but Surajbali is no stranger to cheering audiences.

She has been singing the National Anthem at Hofstra commencements and other high-profile events since her junior year. Kyla recently performed in the Hofstra Opera Theater’s production of Mozart's La Clemenza di Tito and has been featured in several recitals. As manager of the Hofstra Chorale and Chamber Choir, she assists the University’s director of choral activities – Professor David Fryling - with arranging concerts at local cathedrals and organizing an annual spring tour that takes student singers to venues throughout the Northeast.

Singing has been important to Kyla since childhood. When it came time to think about how she would study music in college, Kyla chose Hofstra’s liberal arts offerings over a conservatory.

“Music majors at other schools are often expected to stay focused on their primary instrument,” she said. “I love that I can participate in so many different things here.”  

For Surajbali, Hofstra has become a second home and family. “I love the relationship I have with my professors,” she said. “This is not a cutthroat environment. My friends and I push each other to be better and cheer each other on to succeed.”

As a music education major, Kyla is student-teaching this semester at an elementary school and at a high school. She hopes to eventually pursue a master’s in choral conducting, a plan inspired by Fryling, who she counts as a mentor.

“I would love to teach high school,” she said. “I think that age needs music the most. It’s so healthy for the mental and emotional health of young people to connect and express themselves through music.”

» Kyla’s story isn’t unique. In fact, among Hofstra University’s 2020-2021 undergraduate degree recipients, 98% of alumni from the School of Humanities, Fine and Performing Arts who responded to our graduation survey or other reliable sources (67% knowledge rate) reported that they were employed or had started or were planning to start graduate school within one year of graduation. Visit our outcomes page at hofstra.edu/outcomes for detailed information.

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