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Community School of the Arts ready to offer children’s choir, art, music lessons for all ages

August 24, 2011
CSA Children's Choir

CSA Children's Choir

The NIU Community School of the Arts, sponsored by the College of Visual and Performing Arts, will offer several classes this fall in art and music.

Teachers are faculty and students in the NIU schools of Music and Art.

Need scholarships are available for those 18 and younger; the application deadline is Monday, Aug. 29. Contact the office for an application form. The office is located on campus in Room 132 of the Music Building.

For more information, call Renee Page at (815) 753-1450.

Children ages 7 to 15 who enjoy singing will love becoming a member of the CSA Children’s Choir. This fall, the group has been expanded into two choirs. Both meet Wednesdays and begin rehearsals Sept. 14. The choirs meet in the NIU Music Building.

The Training Chorus is for singers ages 7 to 10 who want to learn how to sing in unison and in harmony with others. Rehearsals are from 4:30 to 6 p.m.

The Chorale is for more advanced singers ages 11 to 15 who want to develop their musicianship, sight-reading skills and vocal technique. Rehearsals are from 5:30 to 7 p.m.

All those interested in joining either choir must arrange a placement audition either Wednesday, Aug. 31, or Thursday, Sept. 1, beginning at 4:30 p.m. The auditions are short and no preparation is required. Call the office at (815) 753-1450. Final determination of which choir a singer is assigned to will be made by director Mary Lynn Doherty.

The mission of the CSA Children’s Choir is to develop the musical skills of children in the greater DeKalb area through the study and performance of high quality choral music of different genres. Through the choral music experience, students build important musical and life skills.

Thanks to a donation from a local group, the choir now has a talent scholarship program. Partial scholarships will be awarded partly on the basis of the placement audition. Talent scholarship application forms are available online at or by calling the office.

Doherty is a children’s music specialist and has taught in Iowa, Wisconsin and Illinois at the K-12 and university levels. Most recently, she was director of music education and associate conductor of the Chicago Choir Academy, a charter school in Chicago. This choir school, founded by the Chicago Children’s Choir, is the only public choir school of its kind in the country.

Community School of the Arts adult guitar studentAll guitar classes meet Wednesdays beginning Sept. 7 in the NIU Music Building.

Guitar Basics Section 1 is for ages 9 to 12. The group meets from 6 to 6:55 p.m. and learns to read music and play songs, scales and chords.

Guitar Basics Section 2 is for ages 13 to adult. The group meets from 7 to 7:55 p.m. and learns the fundamentals. In addition, students will learn some music theory and experience various styles of guitar techniques.

CSA Guitar Ensemble is for those 14 and older and is for beginning and intermediate players. Students enjoy playing with other and gain confidence and skill on the instrument. The ensemble rehearses from 8 to 8:55 p.m.

Quentin Dover teaches the classes and directs the ensemble. He is a graduate of NIU, where he majored in music and studied guitar with Fareed Haque. He has been teaching guitar for many years, both for the community school and in the Aurora area.

Private lessons on the guitar are offered by several community school teachers. In addition to Quentin Dover, students may take lessons with Patrick Harding, Ted Stavrou, and Eric Schroeder.

Photo of fingers on piano keysPlaying piano provides a welcome outlet for adults interested in developing a new pastime or honing a skill.

The NIU Community School of the Arts offers two classes for people who would like to learn to play or to improve their playing in a group setting.

Group Piano for Adults meets on Monday evenings and is for those ages 18 and older.

Level 1 meets from 6:15 to 7:10 p.m. and is for beginners. Skills learned include the basics of piano technique, reading music on the grand staff, and learning some basics, including scales and intervals. Level 2 meets from 7:15 to 8:10 p.m. and is for those who have taken Level 1 or who have a good foundation on the instrument.

Both classes begin Monday, Sept. 12, and meet in the piano lab in the NIU Music Building. Every student is provided with a full-size piano keyboard.

Susan Breitner-Hurm teaches the class. A longtime teacher and pianist, she has taught piano classes and private lessons for the community school for several years. She is also a Suzuki piano teacher.

Art ExpressIntroduce your child to the wonderful world of art this fall in the popular Art Express class.

The class has been redesigned and is one week longer this year. Art Express is for ages 4 to 12 and meets from 1 to 3 p.m. for six Saturdays beginning Sept. 17.

Children create original works of art in this exhilarating and creative class taught by NIU School of Art education students. Each semester, the curriculum is different. Projects are designed around different themes explored by the children through the semester. All materials are supplied.

Teachers are students in the art education program at NIU; they are supervised by faculty. The curriculum changes every semester. Children of NIU faculty, staff, and students can attend the class for free. They pay only the registration fee.

Adults interested in a serious drawing class will be interested in Drawing Basics this fall semester. Designed for ages 13 to adult, the class covers the drawing spectrum.

Students meet from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturdays beginning Sept. 17 and learn how to create visually compelling compositions. Using graphite and black and white charcoal, students gain a thorough knowledge of object representation though descriptive and expressive means.

Graduate student Amelia Spinney teaches the class. She has an extensive background in several visual arts areas, including printmaking and drawing.

More information about the class and a complete list of materials needed by students is available online.