Musicians’ fundraising events start

By Robyn Richard

The NIU School of Music kicked off its semester of fundraising events Oct. 17 with the performance of Ron Modell’s “Sentimental Journey” band.

About 100 people attended the performance of 40s music, which raised $1,373 dollars, NIU Jazz Ensemble Conductor Ron Modell said. “The band played marvelously well, but we didn’t get the turnout we expected due to the world series.”

All proceeds, as well as those from two upcoming fund raisers, are used for music scholarships, which allow talented music students to attend NIU, music school secretary Gayle Rosenwinkel said.

She said, “In the past we have raised approximately $1,800 to $2,000 from each of the three events for the scholarship fund.” School of Music Chairman Donald Funes said usually the events raise $6,000 to $10,000 for the fund per year.

All proceeds are deposited in the Wiswall Scholarship Account, said Allan O’Connor, School of Music assistant chairman. Students interested in the scholarship program audition in front of faculty members. Those with exceptional talent are recommended by the faculty to receive funds from this account, he said.

O’Connor said other small contributions come from members of the community on a one-time basis. “The problem is that there is not nearly enough money in this account for the size and number of students in the music department,” he said.

The university allocates a small number of tuition waivers for students in the music department, but the arts have never had enough resources, O’Connor said. This allows students to shop around for schools which offer better scholarship programs, he said.

“The process is similar to that of an athlete, the student is going to want to go where he can obtain the best financial aid,” O’Connor said. “We lose a lot of talented music students that way.”

Funes said the scholarship account is vital because many students need help paying fees at NIU. “In fact, if a student is really desperate, the department occassionally will loan a student money from this account and then allow him or her to pay us back.”

Students freely devote their time and effort to perform in special programs, Funes said. “The music department as a whole works hard to organize programs that the audience will like, and I think we have succeeded.”

Other fundraising events include “The Madrigal Dinners” and “Vienna Night.” The Madrigal Dinners begin Dec. 3, 4 and 5 in the Duke Ellington Ballroom. The festivities include an Old English dinner with the madrigal singers serving the meal in Shakespearean costumes, Funes said.

The audience gets involved in the performance by singing Christmas carols with the singers, he said. “It really is an exciting way to start off the Christmas season.”

Tickets to the dinner are on sale now at the music school for $18 to $25, depending on the seats.

“Vienna Night,” which is in March, is the last fund-raising event performed by the music department. “We would love to see more students attending these events,” Funes said. “Not only are the performances fun, they also benefit an excellent cause.”