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Community School heating up for summer fun

April 28, 2011

Photo of an Arts Jam summer camperThe NIU Community School of the Arts is taking registrations for summer.

A visit to provides information about the day camps, classes, ensembles and private lessons that are available for children and adults. The semester begins the week of June 13 and runs throughout June and July. Most classes and all lessons are taught on the main NIU campus.

For more information about these programs, call the NIU Community School of the Arts at (815) 753-1450 or via e-mail at [email protected]. Print fliers are available on request.

All information, including a list and biographies of all teachers and the registration form to print and mail, is available at


Private lessons in music and art are offered on most musical instruments and in different specialties of visual art. Teachers are NIU students and faculty, as well as community artists. Students and teachers meet every week for six weeks and are taught at times and days that are convenient to both students and teachers.


The community school offers a number of day camps for children. These camps offer in-depth hands-on arts experiences and are taught by NIU alumni, faculty, and students. Space is limited; early registration is recommended. All camps end with a final day recital or open house.

Arts Jam (ages 6 to 12) is a multi-arts experience that offers daily activities in art, music, and theatre, as well as arts-related field trips. The theme this summer is Animals and Art. This year’s teachers are Drayton Eggleson (music), Liz Rex (art), and Ariel Begley (theatre) who will plan many fun activities for campers. The camp is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday, June 20, through Thursday, June 23.

CSA Children’s Opera Camp (ages 7 to 15) provides a complete opera experience at which campers sing, act and build a set. The opera is Stone Soup, an original short opera for children based on the classic story. Mary Lynn Doherty directs the camp. The camp is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday, June 13, through Thursday, June 16. An audition is required only for those interested in the lead role; auditions begin at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 15. Call (815) 753-1450 for a timeslot.

String Chamber Music Camp (ages 12 to 19), is an ensemble experience for intermediate and advanced string players. Campers are assigned to two ensembles and learn more about rehearsal techniques, music history and theory. Mathias Tacke, NIU violin professor and professional chamber musician, offers a master class. Director Laurie Rodriguez is a violin teacher and chamber music coach. The camp begins with a sight-reading party on July 6. Camp runs from 1 to 5 p.m. Monday, July 11, through Thursday, July 14. Placement auditions are required for all and are being held Tuesday, May 10, beginning at 4:30 p.m. Call (815) 753-1450 for a timeslot.

Duet Camp (ages 8 to 12) is for young musicians who want to improve their playing and have fun learning and practicing duets and playing rounds in small groups. Violinists, violists, cellists, bass players, flutists, and clarinetists are all invited to this camp. Camp runs from 10:30 a.m. to noon Monday, July 11, through Thursday, July 14. Director Laurie Rodriguez is a violin teacher and chamber music coach. Placement auditions are required for all and are being held Tuesday, May 10, beginning at 4:30 p.m. Call (815) 753-1450 for a timeslot.

Karaoke Superstar Day Camp (ages 9 to 12) offers advice and inspiration to young singers who want to learn how to sing popular music while using a microphone and movement. Students receive individual attention. Teacher Jodeen Coulter is a music teacher in the DeKalb public schools and teaches voice and piano lessons for the community school. The camp meets from 2 to 3:55 p.m. Monday, July 25, through Thursday, July 28.


A daughter and her mother participate in a CSA Prelude class.

A daughter and her mother participate in a CSA Prelude class.

Prelude (ages 1 to 3) and Development (ages 3 to 6) are two classes that offer children and parents an array of many activities that encourage musical literacy and prepare children for private music lessons. Activities include singing, dancing, early exploration of instruments, and rhythm activities. Teacher Laurie Rodriguez is an early education music teacher who also teaches violin and chamber music. Both classes are taught Thursdays from June 16 to July 28. Prelude is from 5:45 to 6:15 p.m. Development is from 6:20 to 6:50 p.m.

Musical Tales (ages 3 to 5) is an innovative class combining stories and music. Children hear a different story each week and explore musical elements suggested by the story. The class includes finger plays and action poems. Sara Vogeler is a long-time piano teacher. The class meets from 6:15 to 6:50 p.m. Tuesdays from June 14 to July 12.


Guitar Basics for Children (ages 9 to 12) and Guitar Basics for Teens and Adults (ages 13 to adult) are for beginning students interesting in learning the fundamentals of the guitar. Teacher Quentin Dover is an experienced guitar teacher and studied at NIU with Fareed Haque. Both classes meet Wednesdays from June 15 through July 20. The children’s class meets from 6 to 6:55 p.m. and the teen/adult class meets from 7 to 7:55 p.m.

Group Piano for Adults, Sections 1 and 2 (ages 18 to adult) is for those interested in learning to play the piano. Section 1 is for beginning students. Section 2 is for intermediate players and continues the work of Section 1. Topics to be covered include the basics of piano technique; reading music on the grand staff; and the fundamental building blocks of music, such as scales, and intervals and chords. Teacher Susan Breitner-Hurm has been teaching piano to adults and children for many years. Both classes meet Mondays from June 13 through July 25. Section 1 is from 6:15 to 7:10 p.m. Section 2 is from 7:15 to 8:10 p.m.

Paper Free Music Theory (ages 12 to adult) builds on listening skills to help students improve their ability to read, memorize, and improvise music. Students are expected to bring an instrument to class. Teacher Eric Schroder teaches traditional and Suzuki guitar lessons, as well as theory classes, for the community school. Class meets from 7 to 7:55 p.m. Tuesdays from June 21 through July 26.

CSA Brass Ensemble (ages 13 to 18) is for players of the trumpet, French horn, trombone, baritone, and tuba who are interested in playing a wide variety of music, include baroque, jazz, and, patriotic music. Players should have at least a year’s experience on their instrument. Director Gene Vandenbosch is a longtime teacher and performer of brass instruments. The ensemble meets from 7 to 7:55 p.m. Tuesdays from June 14 through July 26.

Singing: Shaping Your Sound (ages 13 to 20) is a techniques class for singers who want their solos to stand out. Each student works on a solo and learns warm-up exercises, proper breathing techniques, tips on posture and diction, and how to choose appropriate audition music. Teacher JoEllyn Caulfield is a talented singer and teacher who graduated from the NIU School of Music. The class meets from 1:30 to 3 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays from June 20 through July 14.

Jazz Improvisation: Playing the Changes (ages 12 to 17), is for players who want to focus on becoming better jazz musicians. Students receive individual attention and gain confidence with solos and improvisation in their school jazz bands. Teacher Donnie Norton is a graduate of NIU’s prestigious jazz program and directs the CSJazz Band during the school year. The class meets from 5:15 to 6:45 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays from June 14 through July 7.

Jazz Jam for Adults (ages 18 to adult) gives players a chance to perform, improvise, learn more about jazz, and have a great time rehearsing in a group with others. Teacher Donnie Norton is a graduate of NIU’s prestigious jazz program and directs the CSJazz Band during the school year. The class meets from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays from June 14 through July 7.


Taking Perfect Pictures (ages 10 to 16) combines critiques, discussions, and group scavenger photo shoots to give students practical advice on how to take great photographs. Students must bring a digital camera to class. Teacher Jeni LoDolce is a recent NIU School of Art graduate who specializes in photography. The class meets from 9 to 10:15 a.m. Monday, June 13, through Thursday, June 17.

Dream Boxes (ages 10 to 16) asks students to dig into their imagination for the weird images that lurk in dreams. Create one-of-a-kind mixed media collaged boxes that include photos, drawings and found objects. Learn more about surrealism and learn how to turn your from a two-dimensional image into a three-dimensional collage. Teacher Jeni LoDolce is a recent NIU School of Art graduate who specializes in photography. The class meets from 10:30 to 11:45 a.m. Monday, June 13, through Thursday, June 17.

Seed Bead Jewelry, Section 1: Earrings; Section 2: Ring (ages 12 to adult) shares the special beading techniques invented by Native Americans. In Section 1, students learn the brick stitch technique to make earrings and in Section 2, students master the peyote stitch to make rings. These would be fun classes for mothers and daughters. Section 1 meets Monday, July 11, and Tuesday, July 13. Section 2 meets Monday, July 18, and Wednesday, July 20. Both classes are from 6 to 8 p.m. Teacher Lori Tolliver brings years of experience as a Native American jewelry artist to the classes, which are taught at Bliss Beads Studio in DeKalb.

Beads and Bangles (for ages 8 to 13) combines the fun of papiér mache with jewelry making. Students create and decorate bangle bracelets and beads for a necklace in this innovative class. Jewelry designer Allison Johnson, a graduate of the NIU School of Art, teaches the class. The class meets from 10 a.m. to noon Mondays and Wednesday from July 11 through July 20. The class is taught at Bliss Beads Studio in DeKalb.