It is really easy to go through life at BYU-Idaho “feeling like a plastic bag” as Katy Perry once sang, feeling as though many students are solely focused on getting an education and not focused on one’s passions.

That is not the case with Junior Tovar, a student studying marketing with a minor in music.

Tovar began his musical career at the age of six when he began playing the piano for his local church, where he continued to build upon his skills by learning classical pieces from professors in his home country of Bolivia.

By the age of nine, Tovar’s mother noticed that free violin lessons were being offered in front of their house. So, Tovar’s mother wanted him to expand his musical skills and encouraged him to play the violin. Due to his piano-playing skills, he was able to pick up the violin quickly.

“I just fell in love with the sound of the metal and melodic sound of the violin,” Tovar said.

From the age of 12 to 18, Tovar performed in the youth orchestras in his country and when he was 14, he had the opportunity to audition for the Symphony Youth Orchestra of Santa Cruz. This was pivotal for him as he began working with his mentor from the Czech Republic.

Tovar studied under his mentor for about five years.

“All these lessons were supposed to be expensive, but most all of them were given for free because of my hard work and effort,” Tovar said. “They offered me scholarships to improve.”

While playing with the Symphony Youth Orchestra, he specialized in the violin and performed many concerts for them playing classical music.

By the time Tovar was 18, he had formed his own classical band in Bolivia and performed in many events. His band was known as “Levare,” and they had the chance to perform in many music festivals and even won a couple of TV awards.

By that age, Tovar was contacted by a couple of music schools in the U.S. that offered him scholarships. Ultimately, he decided to serve a mission before heading off to college.

Now, with all his talent and expertise, one would wonder why he chose a marketing major as a student at BYU-Idaho.

“The music industry is not a big deal in South America in general,” Tovar said. “In the U.S. it is and I hope to do that for my country and other places in South America. The industry decides what music you listen to, what music I listen to, what music appears on TV, what music appears on Spotify and the radio. I want to be in the marketing part to help people hear better music. Good music.”

Tovar has also performed with the school orchestra to promote the Department of Music and Sacred Music. He has performed with the orchestra since he started school and continues to perform with them.

“It’s like being on the football team, but the value is still the same,” Tovar said.

Ultimately, with all the offers he received from other universities, he chose to come to school at BYU-I for the culture and spiritual experience that it offers.

“I wanted to come here to have a bigger testimony in Christ, to build a solid foundation in Christ and to develop great friendships,” Tovar said.

He has expressed the temptations of working within the music industry but due to His faith in Christ, he has avoided those temptations.

Tovar has performed in Bolivia, Argentina and other states in the U.S. including Nevada, Washington and Utah. With that in mind, he treasures his time here at BYU-I just as much as those.

He values his experiences and relationships at BYU-I.

“I know that I networked with a lot of important people, but I also met a lot of good people who I value here,” Tovar said. “I was meant to be here.”