Artist of the Issue: Sebastian Themelis ’17

What defines a Belmont Hill boy? Is it winning an ISL championship? Is it being good at math and science? Is it being on the debate team? In my opinion, any of those things and more are applicable, given you are being true to yourself. But the thing is, it can be hard to be true to yourself at Belmont Hill. It can be hard to do your own thing. But, you know who is true to himself? Sebastian Themelis.

Sebastian Themelis is one of the most down-to-earth and stylish kids in the greater Boston area. He is back at Belmont Hill for one last hurrah(!) after having spent his junior year at SYA Italy. Although returning to the US after a year filled with personal growth and adventure is difficult, Sebastian’s passion for music has not wavered.

“What makes me happy is to sing and play piano. The largest part of my identity, I think, is that I am a musician,” Sebastian says. Because he has grown up with music, being a longstanding member of the Boston Children’s Chorus and a singer in B-Flats throughout high school, it is fair to say Sebastian values music over most natural resources. He meets with his chorus twice a week, and he spends those afternoons combining music with social justice work, as the group discusses social issues and practices songs, some of which are related to their discussions. Sebastian also enjoys chorus because he has the opportunity to perform music with many kids that you would not meet an overwhelming amount of at Belmont Hill, as the group is partially composed of students from lower-income families and students of color. In addition to the BCC, Sebastian takes part in the B-Flats, Belmont Hill’s premiere Glee Club that meets during B Block every day and performs several times throughout the year.

While Sebastian has great musical experience in and outside of school, he plans to leave his musical mark on his high school years through something of his own creation. At the moment, he is working on an EP, short for Extended Play, which is a small-scale album that contains a few piano tracks featuring yours truly on the drums. Sebastian hopes to release the EP in the spring as his senior project. When I asked Sebastian about his work in progress, he gave me great insight on the project, and what the process of writing music means to him:

“I’m a little embarrassed because it’s only three songs, but it’s personal stuff. Part of being a musician is you have to be able to be openly vulnerable. Because that’s what music is, you’re being openly vulnerable about stuff that’s hurt you. And, that’s hard to do. I get embarrassed when I play the songs for people, but you have to be able to open yourself up and show the world who you are. Sometimes when I’m writing music and writing lyrics, I realize things about myself that I wouldn’t have realized had I not been writing music. And I admit things to myself that I wouldn’t have admitted. So, I learn about myself through writing music, and then showing that to the world is a hard thing to do, but it’s something I’m very excited to do. It’s a very personal passion project.”

Sebastian believes the EP might be the only music he will ever officially put out. But if you ask me, I don’t think this spring will be the last time we hear his exquisite fingering of the piano keys and mellifluous pitch sounding fervently through our eardrums. But just in case, I think you should stop by the music building during X block or 2:15, as there is a nice chance you will see Sebastian sitting at the piano, playing his heart out, and expanding the definition of a Belmont Hill boy.

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