The NIU Foundation kicked off its annual Day of Giving with a Thousands Strong video event, Wednesday, November 18, and the video featured a number of students and alumni of the College of Visual and Performing Arts.
The video is hosted by Kate Drury, a B.F.A. candidate in acting. The music for the video was performed by the NIU Jazz Orchestra and the celebrity interview was Joe Minoso, a 2004 M.F.A. acting graduate and the star of the NBC series “Chicago Fire.”
The Day of Giving runs through November 19. Gifts of all sizes will go a long way to helping ensure the next classes of Huskies have what they need to make the most of their time on campus.
The DownBeat readers’ poll is in its 85 year. DownBeat is an American magazine devoted to “jazz, blues and beyond,” the last word indicating its expansion beyond the jazz realm which it covered exclusively in previous years. The publication was established in 1934 in Chicago.
Harlem Born, New York City raised, Bobby Broom has been heralded as “one of the most musical guitarists of our time” by jazz historian and author, Ted Gioia. Playing Carnegie Hall with Sonny Rollins and Donald Byrd at age 16, Broom recorded his debut as a leader, “Clean Sweep,” for GRP Records at age 20. He’s played and /or recorded with Kenny Burrell, Hugh Masakela, Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, Stanley Turrentine, Dave Grusin, Charles Earland, Miles Davis, Kenny Garrett and Dr. John, among others. As a leader he has recorded with the Bobby Broom Trio and the disbanded Deep Blue Organ Trio for the Premonition, Delmark and Origin labels. Bobby’s most recent, 2018 recording is “Soul Fingers” (MRI Entertainment/US, Jazzline/EU), which features his newest organ trio, ‘the Bobby Broom Organi-Sation.’ The album explores his reinterpretations of his childhood radio hits and was produced by the legendary drummer/producer, Steve Jordan.
Broom has released 12 recordings in total as a leader. Many have received airplay resulting in national jazz radio chart positions of #1 to #3, resulting in his being recognized as one of the top guitarists by Down Beat magazine’s annual Reader’s Poll in 2015, as well as their Critics Poll for four years, from 2012-2014 and again in 2017.
A dedicated jazz educator throughout his career, Professor Broom holds a Master of Music degree in Jazz Pedagogy from Northwestern University. His teaching experience began under the direction of NEA Jazz Master, Jackie Mclean, at the University of Hartford’s, Hartt school of Music. Prior to his appointment at NIU, he was a jazz faculty member at North Park, DePaul and Roosevelt Universities and the American Conservatory of Music. He continues to conduct clinics, master classes and lectures worldwide and is a teaching artist/instructor and mentor with the Herbie Hancock Institute and the Ravinia Jazz Mentor Program.
From 7-7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 18, NIU will commemorate all that makes NIU extraordinary. The Opening Night kickoff show will include an inspirational and entertaining lineup on YouTube Live, with NIU President Lisa C. Freeman and special celebrity guest Joe Minoso, M.F.A. ’04, who plays firefighter Joe Cruz on the NBC drama “Chicago Fire.” Minoso’s unique NIU story and post-graduate experience in theater and television make him an ideal as star for this tribute to Huskies’ success.
This event, which borrows its name from a famous line of “Hail NIU,” the University’s alma mater, will honor the outstanding alumni and donors who help make NIU an engine for innovation, creativity and social mobility. It will also feature inspiring stories of scholarship recipients who are making their dreams come true.
If the kickoff show reaches 1,000 total views, it will unlock $100,000 towards student scholarships, thanks to a special giving challenge instituted by NIU Foundation board member John ’74, M.S. ’75, and Anne Landgraf, ’73.
Beginning at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 18, and going through 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 19, the Huskie community will come together for an online Day of Giving, supporting the NIU Foundation’s incredible scholarship and fundraising opportunities.
Alumni and friends are asked to dig deep and pull together to show that we are truly “Thousands Strong” by making a donation or being a champion for this important day of philanthropy. Gifts of all sizes will go a long way to helping ensure the next classes of Huskies have what they need to make the most of their time on campus.
Additionally, if 2,000 people donate, at any amount, during the Day of Giving, it will unlock another $400,000 challenge towards student scholarships, courtesy of the Landgrafs.
In addition, over the last few weeks, alumni and friends of the University had the opportunity to upload videos of themselves describing why they are proud to be among the “Thousands Strong” who represent NIU. On Nov. 20, the NIU Alumni Association will select video submissions to include in a special “Thousands Strong” highlight reel on its social media pages, which will also include some exciting celebrity messages.
To learn more about how you can take part in this special event and change NIU history for the better from your favorite spot on the couch, visit www.thousandsstrong.com.
Amanda Brex-Castillo, the choral director at South Elgin High School and Kenyon Woods Middle School, received an unexpected visitor during one of her recent South Elgin online classes. Three-time Grammy Award winner Kelly Clarkson popped into the Zoom stream to interrupt the class as part of “The Kelly Clarkson Show” and Brex-Castillo’s students joined Clarkson in voicing their appreciation for her hard work and dedication.
Brex-Castillo earned her Bachelor of Music in Music Education from NIU in 2008.
Singers in the NIU University Chorus, conducted by Mary Lynn Doherty, Assistant Director of the School of Music, Associate Professor and Coordinator of Music Education, received a little extra assignment as they were learning the four part arrangement to the NIU Alma Mater.
They were asked to reflect on the beauty around them and what they love about NIU and the NIU experience. The goal of the exercise was to add meaning and expression to their singing.
Homecoming at NIU was a little different this year, with COVID-19 restrictions in place and a MAC football season that doesn’t start until November, but the Pride of the Midwest, the Huskie Marching Band put together a halftime show for everyone to enjoy in the comfort of their own homes.
The show is the end product of a lot of hard work from the current Huskie Marching Band with support from the Alumni Band.