Astha A Cappella president also likes basketball, reading
Prashanth Somasundaram is the president of the Saint Louis University Astha A Cappella group.
A senior biomedical engineering major, Somasundaram has been a member of Astha all four years at SLU. Somasundaram cannot speak highly enough of Astha.
“It feels like a family instead of an extracurricular activity,” Somasundaram said. “With Astha, it feels like a stress reliever to go to practice, because of the singing and the people.”
Astha, an Indian-fusion a cappella group, was formed at SLU in 2006. According to Somasundaram, the group likes to differentiate themselves from other fusion groups by incorporating different cultures into their songs, such as Korean, Irish and Italian.
“Our goal is to diversify members and the type of music with Astha,” Somasundaram said.
Somasundaram feels he was well-prepared by previous members for the role of president of Astha. He also believes this is one of Astha’s most efficient years, as they sold out tickets for their fall concert 48 hours before the show. Their spring concert will take place April 27.
“Astha is easily my favorite thing about SLU,” Somasundaram said. “The experiences I’ve had and the people I’ve met have changed my life incredibly.”
Before attending SLU, Somasundaram was trained in Carnatic music from eighth grade through his senior year of high school. Carnatic music is a vocal type of South-Indian classical music. Somasundaram is also fluent in Tamil, a South-Indian language.
Somasundaram is also a member of Alpha Phi Omega, Indian Student Association and is one of the founding members of the SLU chapter of the Lions Club, a service organization that was founded last semester. The Lions Club is one of the largest service organizations in the world.
However, engineering is what takes up the majority of his time.
“That’s what keeps me the busiest out of everything. I average about four to five hours of sleep per night,” Somasundaram said.
He is interested in pursuing a career in cancer research or tissue engineering.
Somasundaram is originally from India, grew up in Minnesota and went to high school in Naperville, Ill. When he was applying to college, he was particularly drawn to SLU because of the family-feel of the community.
“My favorite thing about visiting was [that] every single person I met genuinely seemed to care about you and made an effort to try and get to know you as a person,” Somasundaram said. “I just fell in love with that aspect.”
When he’s not studying or singing, Somasundaram’s hobbies include playing basketball and reading. He is teaching himself how to play the guitar and the ukulele. He read eight books over winter break, but he has little time to indulge in his passion for reading while at school.
His basketball career ended with an injury in high school.
Somasundaram was advised by his doctors to not play, but he still hits the court from time to time.
“It’s one of those things I can’t resist,” Somasundaram said.