Elizabeth Vieyra was little when she first noticed some of her peers did not have the same opportunities she did.
Vieyra was always musically inclined, playing flute and violin. But she realized not everyone in her hometown of Aurora who wanted to take up an instrument could do so.
“I saw people around me who really wanted to try music but didn’t have the resources to do it,” she recalls. “I thought if I studied music ed I could help people like them and kids like me who just really love music.”
When Vieyra, a sophomore, completes her music education degree, she hopes to teach music at a public school and offer private lessons at an affordable price to people in her hometown.
Vieyra is inspired by her teachers, whom she said are always willing to offer help, even outside of office hours. That collaborative attitude pervades the atmosphere of the Music Building, where Vieyra said competition feels good natured and working together is the primary focus.
“People here have a really strong bond and connection,” she said. “When something isn’t working, people come together and make it work.”
Receiving the NIU Foundation Impact Scholarship opened new doors for Vieyra, who can now afford to stay on campus instead of driving home every day. That means more time for practice, more time for study, and more opportunities to be involved, she said.
“I was so happy when I found out I received the scholarship,” she said. “I ran to tell my younger siblings about it. I told them they have no excuse not to go to college because I am doing it. I am getting the help I need, and they can, too.”
When her siblings are ready for college, Vieyra said, she encourages them to choose NIU. The university and the School of Music are providing her with more than an education – they are giving her a second family.
“NIU is a place where you can make your home,” she said. “I am at home.”
Learn more about students like Vieyra during Thousands Strong, a virtual event to celebrate the thousands of Huskies whose strength, impact and generosity change lives at NIU.
Geof Bradfield, professor of jazz saxophone and jazz studies in the NIU School of Music was part of a feature on NPR’s “Fresh Air” about the release of his trio’s new album “General Semantics.” (more…)
Students, faculty, staff and community members joined together on Thursday, Oct. 1 on Castle Drive to enjoy music from the NIU Black Choir, percussion and jazz ensembles of the NIU School of Music and a performance by students in the NIU School of Theatre and Dance, and to paint “Black Lives Matter” on the street between Davis Hall and the east lagoon. The event was presented by the NIU Center for Black Studies and the College of Visual and Performing Arts.
The entire community is invited to join together to help paint “Black Lives Matter” on Castle Drive. Paint, rollers, and brushes will be supplied.
Participants will be limited to 50 at any one time, but attendees may join in at any time throughout the afternoon to make their mark and show their commitment to social justice.
Safety measures will be followed. Masks must be worn. Wipes will be used to clean the brush handles and rollers after each use. Safety protocols will be facilitated by members of the Center for Black Studies and students in the College of Visual and Performing Arts.
In addition to the group painting, there will be performances and speakers throughout the event, including the NIU Black Choir, jazz ensembles, percussion ensemble, dance improvisation, and readings from a variety of texts.
“The paint used is water-based and non-toxic,” said Paul Kassel, Dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts. “It is expected to last through the rest of the fall semester. Though the image may fade, our commitment to social justice and to a strong Huskie community will remain vivid and strong. We believe that one answer to a hateful act is an act of affirmation of our values. It is in that spirit that this event is being held—to testify and signify to all that NIU holds an unshakeable belief that Black Lives Matter.”
For more information, contact the College of Visual and Performing Arts’ Donee Spizzirri at firstname.lastname@example.org.