NIU to offer various concerts throughout the remaining weeks

By Katie Finlon

Week nine: the week after midterms, for the most part, and the week of relaxing and thinking the storm has passed.

Oh no, my friends, it has only just begun.

For all you students out there, it’s crunch time all the way until finals. For MUHL 220 (Introduction to Music) students in particular, it’s about time to attend concerts back-to-back and write full reports on said concerts.

But you might be thinking to yourself, “I need to attend an orchestral performance! What on earth is Philharmonic? What does ‘New Music’ even mean?”

Don’t you worry; I’m here to help. Here’s a brief guide to the major ensembles on campus (or even slightly off-campus):

This one is self-explanatory: The All-University Jazz Band and Jazz Lab Band are performing a concert at 8 p.m. Thursday in the Boutell Memorial Concert Hall in the Music Building.

The Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra will be performing their annual Halloween concert at 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 29 at the Boutell Memorial Concert Hall. Generally they play famous Halloween-themed pieces from major motion pictures—Harry Potter, Halloween…You get the idea. Basically, these pieces will generally have a very prominent romantic-era feel—as in, they have influences stemming from Beethoven or Tchaikovsky. The orchestra itself isn’t affiliated with NIU, but they perform a lot of concerts on campus.

The New Music Ensemble plays a lot of 20th century music. It’s safe to expect something like an Aaron Copland piece being played at a concert of theirs. They will be performing 8 p.m. Nov. 6 and 7 in the Boutell Memorial Concert Hall.

The Early Music Ensemble is the direct opposite of the New Music Ensemble; they do not play any music created before 1750. For those in the MUHL 220 class, this would include music from the Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque periods (composers like Bach and Handel). The ensemble will host a concert at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 16 in the Recital Hall in the Music Building.

The Philharmonic is NIU’s orchestra and top ensemble, playing anything by big-name composers from almost any significant musical time period. It will have its concert at 3 p.m. Nov. 11 in the Boutell Memorial Concert Hall.

The NIU Steel Band will be playing 3 p.m. Nov. 18 in the Boutell Memorial Concert Hall and All University Concert Band will be playing 8 p.m. Nov. 20 in the Boutell Memorial Concert Hall.

NIU is widely acclaimed for its world music program, and the following ensembles would fall under that category:

The Middle-Eastern Music Ensemble features classical, folk and popular musical styles from the Middle East. This ensemble will perform at 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 13 in the Recital Hall.

The Chinese Music Ensemble allows students to play Chinese instruments, such as the sheng (mouth organ) and pipa (long-neck lute). The ensemble will perform at 8 p.m. Nov. 14 in the Recital Hall.

The Afro-Pop Ensemble, a mix of African and pop music, will perform at 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 9 in the Recital Hall.

Even if you aren’t a MUHL 220 student, the ensembles will appreciate your support if you come just because. Just kick back, relax and become more musically educated by the second.

Here are some helpful reminders for attending these concerts:

• There’s no need to bring a huge notebook to take notes. I swear, if you just bring your pen to take notes on the program and just enjoy the music, you’ll be fine. If you even want to bring a small memo notebook, that would be fine and less cumbersome for you to carry and hold throughout the concert.

• On that note, please don’t use your phone or anything with a backlit screen during the concert. It’s distracting to performers, fellow audience members and yourself.

• Always ask your MUHL 220 professor if a particular concert will count for any specific concert credit you may need. You don’t want to realize it doesn’t count after you took the time to write the report.

• A complete schedule of concerts hosted by the NIU School of Music is posted on All concerts are subject to change, so always check to make sure your time is correct with the schedule.