NIU joins cultural development program

By Julie Zvitkovits

NIU is participating in “Music as a Cultural Institution in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance,” a curricular development program held in conjunction with the Newberry Library in Chicago.

The Newberry Library and the National Endowment for the Humanities sponsors four universities yearly in such projects. The two organizations select participants from about 2,000 Newberry Consortium Universities located mainly in the Midwest, said Sylvia Huot, one of four project coordinators and NIU assistant professor of foreign languages and literatures.

The Newberry Library decided to focus on Renaissance music, the same topic as last year. Four different universities participated in last year’s project.

Other universities involved this year are Western Michigan University, Marquette University, Wis. and the University of Chicago.

Participants are chosen based on courses offered pertaining to the selected topic. Other NIU faculty who are coordinators include associate music professor Robert Green, associate art professor Judith Testa and English professor William Williams.

The coordinators want to “bring the text to life, to enrich the curriculum…by incorporating music where it otherwise might not be,” Huot said.

Faculty members are invited to join in the monthly workshops. Most of the courses involved are humanities and will include a unit on medieval or Renaissance music, she said.

Mary Springfels, Newberry Musician in Residence, will visit NIU in January and the Library’s Early Music ensemble will perform on campus April 17 and 18. Springfels and the professional musicians will tour various classes to discuss the music.