The spring class of 2020 hasn’t had a traditional conclusion to their studies, but they do have a lot of great stories.

Over the summer months we’ll be profiling some of them.

Jorge Brito

Jorge BritoDegree earned – Bachelor of Music, Emphasis in Music Education Minor in Spanish
Hometown/High School – Cuernavaca, Morelos Mexico
Transfer from Elgin Community College

What are some of your best memories of your time at NIU?
I commuted to NIU so most of my time spent there was when I had classes, lessons, concerts or workshops. But one of the best memories I have from NIU is the day the philharmonic played Verdi’s Defiant Requiem. We were 200 people on stage (musicians, singers and actors). It was very exciting to see so many people participating in the same goal. The auditorium was full and for more than two hours we all enjoyed that moment. We shared the stage with professional and amateur musicians.

What’s next for you?
Right now, I have been subbing at two different districts (U46 and D33). I am applying for jobs for the next school year. My goal is find a job in the elementary level; I want to teach general music to kids. I’m also open to the idea of teaching beginning orchestra. I hope at the same time I’m teaching that I can get certified in the Orff method, which it will help me become a better teacher for my students.

What is one piece of advice or something you learned that you know you’ll be leaning on as you start the next phase of your career or education?
Networking. I’ve been very fortunate to meet people that are helping me to navigate this difficult transition between being a student and becoming a professional.

How was your experience at NIU different than what you expected when you started?
It was more difficult than I thought. This is my second career and it is definitely harder to go to college when you are older and have a family to look after and care for. However, the support I received from my family was one of the things that made me go ahead and graduate for the second time in my life. I thank the teachers who understood my situation and supported me to get ahead.

If you could thank someone (or more than one person) that you didn’t get a chance to thank before you left, who would it be, and what would you say?
I would like to thank one more time to Dr. [Ted] Hatmaker for believing in me and for taking the time to help me to become a better musician. Also, I would like to thank you, Dr. [Mary Lynn] Doherty, for being there every time I needed a helping hand.

What is something you’d like to come back to do one more time?
I would love to play one more concert with any of the music ensembles. I was always in the NIU philharmonic but I always wanted to play in the Middle Eastern or Chinese ensembles.

What are some of the things you are most proud of from your time at NIU?
One of the things that I’m most proud of is that I found a group of musicians who helped me to grow a lot and who supported me in difficult times. This group of musicians became good friends. Something I appreciate about NIU is the diversity of its students which made it easier for me to find the type of music and band in which I wanted to participate. Of course, graduating is one of the things I’m most proud of as well.

If you could give some advice to the high school class of 2020 who will be starting at NIU in the fall, what would it be?
Try to get involved and participate in extracurricular activities. Of course, it is important to have good grades and focus on studying but it is also important to create connections with other people who think differently than you do. Take advantage of the time to network and get to know other things different from what you are planning to study.

Keep an eye out for more profiles of the NIU College of Visual and Performing Arts class of 2020.