Welcome Back to School

image courtesy of Google Images

As students return to school, rushing to get books, completing last minute scheduling changes and looking for inexplicably missing room numbers, it is safe to say that the beginning of the spring semester is just as hectic as the end of the fall semester was with finals and reports. What made this semester much sweeter was the mellow jazz beat echoing through Village Square on Jan. 12. Curious to find the source of the scintillating sounds, I quickly came upon a group of students playing jazz in front of the Student Union’s Descartes coffee shop at a small booth.

The soothing presentation was brought to us by the “Ask Me Campaign,” a program that serves to both welcome back students during the beginning of the Spring and Fall semesters as well as help answer any questions students may have. This is especially useful for new transfer students, first year students, and returning students who are simply encountering new changes and don’t know what to make of them, such as the implementation of the U-Pass.

Of course the small jazz ensemble that we were presented with was a nice little reminder that NEIU does have a music department, and a rather good one at that. The ensemble itself was directed and brought together by music professor Dr. Mago Tiana. Everyone who came by seemed to appreciate and enjoy the performance. NEIU student Kyle Schrowang said “jazz in the Village Square is a great way to bring in some culture.” And I am sure a lot of people thought just that as they walked by and listened to the music.

As the performance came to an end, Dr. Tiana introduced the students who were performing: Freshman Robert Iahzo on the trumpet, Alumni Matt Bordoschuk on reeds, Senior Stephen Kentala on drums and Senior Connor Hollingworth on strings. Although these performances seem rare at NEIU, that is not the case. All music majors are required to perform in recitals, and the Fine Arts catalogue has a wealth of information about days students can come and unwind to some nice music at a student’s, or professor’s recital. The music department even brings outside musicians to NEIU to perform and expose students to exciting new music in a series called the Jewel Box series. The jazz performance we were treated to was just a little reminder that our music department is very active in providing musical opportunities for students to participate in and enjoy outside of the department.