Still time to sign up for summer online arts camps

Still time to sign up for summer online arts camps

The NIU Community School of the Arts is offering online summer camps for kids ages 11-19 (grades 6-12).

Have fun and make lifelong friends while exploring your love of performing and visual arts. Faculty, staff and alumni from the College of Visual and Performing Arts will help you experience life as an artist and meet mentors in the arts.


Theatre Arts Camp Junior (grades 6-9) and Senior (grades 9-12)

Experience theatre warmups, workshops, production rehearsals, a talent show ands a final online performance with NIU Theatre faculty member Kendra Holton and her amazing camp staff.


Visual Arts Camp

Meet talented high school artists and work directly with NIU alumni artists and arts educators to improve foundational design skills, explore new media and methods, learn to prepare a college portfolio and more.


NIU Jazz Camp

Work with NIU jazz faculty Geof Bradfield, Bobby Broom and others to improve understanding of jazz music and history and polish performance and improvisational skills on your instrument.

Register today for Summer in the Arts camps in music, theatre and art online.

Honors Recital to feature CSA Talent Scholarship Winners 

Honors Recital to feature CSA Talent Scholarship Winners 

Six talented young musicians perform in the annual CSA Honors Recital at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb on Saturday, February 27 at 1:30 p.m.  All are recipients of this year’s CSA Talent Scholarship, awarded annually by the NIU Community School of the Arts.  A limited audience of family members will experience this very special music performance in the Concert Hall at the NIU Music Building.  The public is invited to enjoy a livestream by visiting the NIU School of Music website.

Ranging in age from nine to 17, this year’s CSA Talent Scholarship winners are from DeKalb, Sycamore, Genoa and Oak Brook.  They will perform classical works by F. Seitz, C. Debussy, J. Serrano, G.F. Handel, H. Villa-Lobos and J.S. Bach.

At the elementary age level, Laureen Demir (violin) is nine years old and attends third grade at Brook Forest Elementary School in Oak Brook.  Laureen is the daughter of Veysel Demir and Minmei Hou.  Claire Hua (violin) is eleven years old and attends St. Mary Catholic School as a fifth grader in DeKalb.  Claire is the daughter of Chaoxiong Xia and Lei Hua.  Laureen and Claire study Suzuki violin with NIU Suzuki Strings program director and CSA teacher Ann Montzka Smelser.

At the junior age level, Chloe Dye (violin) is thirteen years old and attends Veritas Scholars Academy in the seventh grade.  Chloe is the daughter of David and Emily Dye, and she studies Suzuki violin with CSA teacher Laurie Rodriguez.  Michael Jaros (guitar) is fourteen years old and attends homeschool as an eighth grader in DeKalb.  Michael is the son of George Jaros and Julie Zaborac, and he studies guitar with CSA teacher Quentin Dover.

At the senior age level, Emily Bychowski (viola) is fifteen years old and is a sophomore at Sycamore High School.  Emily is the daughter of Ron and Shelly Bychowski, and she studies viola with CSA teacher Austin Cruz.  Reilly Farrell (piano) is seventeen years old and attends DeKalb High School as a junior.  Reilly is the son of Robb and Tamara Farrell, and he has studied Suzuki piano with Marilyn Montzka and piano with Linc Smelser.

Auditions for the six scholarship awards are held in January each year, when the young musicians play their pieces from memory before a three-judge panel.  Each winner receives $250.  The NIU Community School of the Arts has awarded 144 talent scholarships to young musicians in the community since 1996.

The money for these awards comes from the NIU Community School scholarship fund.  In addition to talent scholarships, the CSA also awards need-based scholarships twice each year.  Since 1993, more than 825 scholarships have been awarded to area students pursuing their study of the arts with the community school.

The Community School of the Arts at NIU offers lessons, classes, and ensembles in music and visual art.  For more information, visit or call (815) 753-1450.

Honors Recital to feature CSA Talent Scholarship Winners 

Register for music lessons, ensembles, and classes at the NIU Community School of the Arts 

For more than 30 years, NIU Community School of the Arts has offered music education and instruction for children and adults of all ages.  The CSA offers activities for personal enrichment year-round for community members who participate in classes, lessons, and music ensembles in person or online.

Registration is open now for a variety of programs in person and online for the 2020-2021 school year.  The programs and activities that meet in person in the NIU Music Building will strictly adhere to the safety measures outlined by Northern Illinois University and the NIU Community School of the Arts.  Program and safety information is available at the CSA website


Financial assistance is available for students age 18 or younger who want to pursue their study of music.  Funding for scholarships is provided through private donations, fundraising activities, and support from the Farny R. Wurlitzer Foundation Fund.  The deadline for submitting a need-based scholarship application for the spring semester is January 15, 2021 and families with an adjusted gross income less than 75K annually are eligible to apply.   Scholarship applications are available at the CSA website and by calling the NIU Community School of the Arts.

Music Lessons – Traditional and Suzuki

Learn to play a musical instrument!  The CSA offers traditional private music lessons on nearly all instruments – violin, guitar, piano, cello, percussion, brass, woodwinds and many more.  Music lessons using the Suzuki approach, combining private and group lessons, are taught on violin, cello, piano, and guitar.

Music teachers meet with students weekly in person or online for private lessons, and students are invited to prepare for and participate in a recital at the end of each semester.  Music lessons begin the week of January 18.

Music Classes for Young Children

Piano Starter for Children Limited to four children ages 5 – 7, this small group class is an ideal beginning class for children to prepare for private music lessons.  Piano Starter meets online on Tuesdays from 4 – 4:40 p.m. and begins on January 26.  Taught by piano teacher Soo-Yon Choi, this class meets 12 times.

Guitar for Kids Teacher Quentin Dover introduces children ages 8 – 12 to guitar playing through a fun, song-oriented approach to learning.  Exposure to music fundamentals such as scales, chords, rhythm, melody, harmony, and playing technique allows students to begin building their own toolbox of musical skills, promoting confident and comfortable playing.  No previous guitar experience is required, and each student will use their own guitar during class.  Class meets online on Wednesdays 12 times from 5 – 5:50 p.m. starting January 27.

Music Classes for Older Children and Adults

Guitar Basics and Intermediate Guitar are taught by guitarist and long-time CSA teacher Quentin Dover on Wednesday evenings.  Students bring their own guitar to this online class and learn to play songs, scales and chords along with beginning music theory and guitar techniques.  Guitar Basics meets from 6 – 6:50 p.m. and Intermediate Guitar meets from 7 – 7:50 p.m.  Both classes welcome students ages 13 – adult, begin on January 27, and meet online 12 times.

Square One Piano: Group Basics Class meets from 6:15 – 7:00 p.m. and is for beginners.  Piano Forte: Building Piano Skills meets from 7:15 – 8 p.m. and is for intermediate players. Both classes meet online for 12 weeks.  Adults learn to play piano in a fun, online atmosphere when popular CSA teacher Soo-Yon Choi leads group piano classes for ages 13 – adult on Monday evenings starting January 25.

Music Ensembles

Musicians share a love of music and learn to play with others through the ensemble experience.  The NIU Community School offers several music ensembles, some for young musicians and others for older children and adults.  Every ensemble performs a concert in the NIU Music Building or online at the end of each semester.

CSA Symphonette is a string orchestra for ages 8 – 16 that rehearses in person in the NIU Music Building on Tuesdays from 6 – 7 p.m.  Directed by Linc Smelser, this group plays lively and challenging music and performs in concert twice during the year.  The first Symphonette rehearsal is on January 26.

CSA Sinfonia is directed by Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra conductor Linc Smelser and meets in person for rehearsals on Wednesdays beginning January 27.   For spring 2021, the youth orchestra has been divided into three groups for rehearsals to reduce density: strings will meet from 7 – 7:45 p.m., woodwinds from 8 – 8:40 p.m. and brass from 8:55 – 9:30 p.m.  CSA Sinfonia plays a wide variety of music and performs two concerts during the year.  Musicians age 14 – 20 are admitted by audition; first-time members should call the NIU Community School to schedule an audition.

CSA Guitar Ensemble meets online on Wednesdays from 8 – 8:50 p.m.  Directed by CSA teacher and musician Quentin Dover, guitar players ages 14 – adult work on ensemble skills, build confidence and skill on the guitar, and perform two concerts during the year.  The first rehearsal is on January 27.

CSA Steelband encourages everyone to experience the unique sound of the steel pan.  Directed by Yuko Asada, CSA Steelband welcomes members ages 12 – adult.  No previous experience on the instrument is needed, but it is recommended that students can read music.  The steel pan family ranges from soprano to bass, and each student chooses an instrument.  The ensemble plays many types of music arranged for steel pan, including calypso, classical, rock, and rhythm and blues, and performs in concert several times during the year.  CSA Steelband rehearses in person in the NIU Music Building on Mondays from 6:30 – 7:25 p.m. beginning on January 25.

The NIU Community School of the Arts is sponsored by the College of Visual and Performing Arts at Northern Illinois University.  More information, including the scholarship application form, activities registration form, teacher biographies, safety protocols and online registration can be found at, or call (815) 753-1450 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.