CHRISTIAN ANDERSON, CELLO, B '19
"I can't begin to imagine what my life would be like without music"
WHERE ARE YOU FROM AND WHEN DID YOU FIRST FALL IN LOVE WITH MUSIC? I am from Hartland, Wisconsin and I first fell in love with music at a very young age. My sister had started violin and I was three years old. I had a toy violin that I pretended to play. When I was five, I started both cello and piano and have loved music ever since.
HOW DID YOU HEAR ABOUT VANDERCOOK AND WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO ATTEND? I heard about VanderCook from both my grandpa and my high school orchestra director. I decided to attend because of the community and the way the courses are structured.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT AT VANDERCOOK? My most memorable moment was probably performing with the Jazz Band and I was soloing on cello. My three brothers were there, and came up to sit close, and it was cool to see how the music impacted them. They now all play instruments.
WHEN YOU ARE NOT STUDYING OR ATTENDING CLASS, WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE ACTIVITIES? Jamming out with friends, going bowling at the BOG on campus, watching movies, hanging out in general. If I want some time alone, then I like to read.
DO YOU COMMUTE OR LIVE ON CAMPUS AND WHY? I commute from an off-campus apartment nearby. It is more cost effective, allows more freedom, and it forces me to become more financially responsible.
WHY IS MUSIC IMPORTANT TO YOU? Music has shaped who I've become. I can't begin to image what my life would be like without music. It has become my release, my comfort. Whenever I'm in a bad mood, I turn to music. It's something that can really help someone out. That's why it is important and I want to use it to help people and change their lives for the bestter.
LUCAS BAUER, VOICE, B '18
"We are not just students at VanderCook, we are future educators. We are all here to learn, help, and teach."
WHERE ARE YOU FROM AND HOW DID YOU FIND OUT ABOUT VANDERCOOK? I am from Princeton, Illinois. I heard about VanderCook from my choral director, Brandon Crawford (B '05). He was my high school director and my role model throughout high school. I also knew Dr. Sinclair from clinics and some ACDA conventions. They both had a great influence on my life and the direction it is going.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE VANDERCOOK? I had a lot of opportunities when it came to college. I went on many college visits but nothing compares to VanderCook. As soon as I walked in the doors I felt at home. The students and professors were so inviting and kind that I felt like I was already a student! Whenever I went on a visit with another school I felt like a number. There was no connection with the professors or the school itself. This just helped me solidify my choice with VanderCook. The staff kept up with me even after my visit by emailing me and thanking me for coming. I chose VanderCook because it will make me the most well rounded teacher I can be. At VanderCook you leave certified to teach K-12 general music, choir, band, and orchestra. You also learn all the instruments so you can help your future students with whatever they need. This puts you in high demand. VanderCook is a family, and it was the best decision I've made.
AT VANDERCOOK YOU GET TO PLAY IN BAND AND ORCHESTRA AS WELL AS SING IN CHOIR. WHAT ABOUT THIS DO YOU LIKE? Being exposed to band, orchestra, and choir is a wonderful experience. As a vocal major I do not have the most experience in band or orchestra. After being in band for one year my eyes have been opened and my knowledge expanded more than I could have imagined. This concept gives you the hands on experience In all fields of music, again putting you in higher demand when it comes time to go out and teach.
WHY IS MUSIC IMPORTANT TO YOU? Music has always had a way of making me calm. There is something about music that puts my heart at ease. I have had music in my life for as long as I could remember. It has made me see the light on even the darkest of days and has helped me make new relationships. Music has brought me to places I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to go without it. I have a strong passion for music and it has helped me throughout my life, whether that be with meeting people, new experiences, or becoming a better person.
DO YOU COMMUTE OR LIVE ON CAMPUS? WHY AND WHERE? I live in an apartment about 15 minutes away from the school. For my freshmen year I lived in the dorms. I wanted to live in the dorms so I could get acquainted with the area I was in. Plus, the school is an eight minute walk from the dorms so I never had to worry about how to get home because it was so close. I met a lot of cool people in the dorms and it was a good experience, but I am happy that I have an apartment now.
IF YOU COULD GIVE ONE PIECE OF ADVICE TO SOMEONE WHO'S STARTING THEIR COLLEGE SEARCH WHAT WOULD IT BE? Go to a place where you feel like family, not a number. You don’t want to pay all this money just to hate it one semester in. Go to college where the professors care about each student and will do anything to help you. You are in charge of your education and your future. This is a big decision so make sure you are happy with your choice!
WHEN YOU ARE NOT STUDYING OR ATTENDING CLASS, WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE ACTIVITIES? I love to hang out with my friends. Whether that be just hanging around and watching a movie or going into the city and walking around. The one thing I do when I don’t have anything going on is sleep. I love to sleep and I take every chance I get. You will understand when you get to college that sleep is a delicacy.
ELIN BOKLUND, SAXOPHONE, B '18
"When I decided I wanted to study music, I knew that VanderCook was the place I needed to be."
WHERE ARE YOU FROM AND WHEN DID YOU FIRST FALL IN LOVE WITH MUSIC? I am from LaPorte, Indiana and I first fell in love with music in church when I was just a little girl. My mom and dad would sing the hymns and I could see the organist from where we sat. From that moment on, I loved music.
HOW DID YOU HEAR ABOUT VANDERCOOK AND WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO ATTEND? I first heard about VanderCook when the College came to my high school while they were on tour. I distinctly remember them saying that they learned each instrument and that's when I knew this was the college for me. My saxophone teacher in high school was also an alum of VanderCook and I admired the way he taught. When I decided I wanted to study music, I knew that VanderCook was the place I needed to be.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT AT VANDERCOOK? My most memorable moment at VanderCook so far has been playing at and working The Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic. Playing in the band at Midwest has been such an experience! There is no feeling like being on stage at one of the biggest music educator conferences in the world and being able to say, "Yeah, I played at the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic!" Working the Midwest Clinic is also an experience! We get to meet so many people, both famous and infamous! Collaborating and learning from these educators is something that not many music education students get to experience like we do.
WHEN YOU ARE NOT STUDYING OR ATTENDING CLASS, WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE ACTIVITIES? When I am not in class or studying, I love to crochet, paint, and hang out with friends. We live in Chicago, so there is always something to do ranging from concerts to museums to festivals.
WHEN YOU GRADUATE, WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE TO WORK AND WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO TEACH? When I graduate, I would like to move back to somewhere in Indiana and I want to teach elementary general usic or middle school band.
WHAT MAKES CHICAGO A GREAT PLACE TO LIVE AND STUDY? Chicago is a great place to live and study because we have so much to utilize right outside our front door. We have awesome opportunities around the city to be a part of and observe. For example, the World Music Festival was just held here in the city. College students also get discounted tickets for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Chicago Lyric Opera. Going to events like this will not only be a wonderful learning experience, but they might also get you a little extra credit in some of your classes and some observation hours!
RICO HOWARD, PIANO, B '18
"I want to bring music education to youth who need it most."
WHERE ARE YOU FROM AND WHEN DID YOU FIRST FALL IN LOVE WITH MUSIC? I am from Chicago, Illinois. I first fell in love with music as a child going to Markham Roller Rink with my family on Saturdays.
HOW DID YOU HEAR ABOUT VANDERCOOK AND WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO ATTEND? I heard about VanderCook from an alumnus named Lawrence Jones who I met at a professional development event for music teachers at Columbia College Chicag. I deicded to attend VanderCook because I have always dreamed of becoming a music teacher. Since my high school and grade school didn't have a music program, I knew I needed to have a stronger foundation in my own music education in order to become the best teacher I can be.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT AT VANDERCOOK? My most memorable moment at VanderCook was playing trombone in the VanderCook Symphonic Band at the Midwest Clinic my freshman year. Prior to my time at VanderCook, I had never played a brass instrument in my life! To play in front of so many people on such an important stage was truly unforgettable!
WHEN YOU ARE NOT STUDYING OR ATTENDING CLASS, WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE ACTIVITIES? When school is out of session, I really enjoy attending music concerts of many genres. I also enjoy going out dancing in the salsa music scene of Chiacgo, especially during the summer.
WHEN YOU GRADUATE, WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE TO WORK AND WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO TEACH? I would like to teach in an urban area and teach choir and general music to students who, like me, have limited music education. Music education is not reserved for affluent school districts and I want to bring music education to youth who need it most.
WHY IS MUSIC IMPORTANT TO YOU? Music is important to me because when I perform in an ensemble, I am reminded of the beautiful things we as human beings can accomplish when we unite under a common goal.
ALEX HUNT, TRUMPET, B '18
"It's like a home away from home."
WHERE ARE YOU FROM AND WHEN DID YOU FIRST FALL IN LOVE WITH MUSIC? My name is Alex Hunt and I'm from Peoria, Illinois. I first fell in love with music in 2nd grade at my elementary school. We were putting on our 2nd grade musical, which was about a farm, and I was chosen to sing the solo as the farmer and I knew right away - that's when I fell in love with music.
HOW DID YOU HEAR ABOUT VANDERCOOK AND WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO ATTEND? I first heard about VanderCook through my high school band director who received his masters here. He spoke so highly of all the educators, the faculty, and the student body that I knew it was the place for me. It's like a home away from home.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT AT VANDERCOOK? I think performing at the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic will always be my favorite memory at VanderCook. Just bringing new music to so many people that are like-minded is second to none.
WHEN YOU ARE NOT STUDYING OR ATTENDING CLASS, WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE ACTIVITIES? I spend a lot of my free time at IIT's 33rd Street Productions. 33rd St. Productions is a theatre group that combines both VanderCook and IIT. I have been onstage, director, and backstage in many of their productions (both musicals and plays) since my time here and even serve on their executive board now.
DO YOU COMMUNITE OR LIVE ON CAMPUS AND WHY? My first year I lived in the residence halls and everything about it was so nice. It was amazing to be right on campus, just a 5-minute walk away from all the buildings and conveniences the campus offers, like a 7/11, green line, red line, etc. I had an IIT roommate which did not work out well for me, but I had an unlucky draw. Most people who room with IIT students have great stories of meeting new people that aren't "vandercookies" and love it. Since then, I've moved off campus in an apartment, first by Michigan and 26th (7 blocks away) and now in Bridgeport. The apartment life is nice since you definitely have more freedom than in the residence halls, but once I'm at school I generally stay there for the whole day until my classes are done. I would suggest living in the residence halls for at least a year to get the experience.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE AT VANDERCOOK? My biggest challenge at VanderCook has been a very interpersonal one. I've always had trust issues with myself and with others. But allowing myself to open with music and share ideas and passions with people who are so like-minded has really changed the way I view some things, and for the better.
ALIVIA JAKUBOWSKI, FLUTE, B '19
"I love every minute of being at VanderCook."
WHERE ARE YOU FROM AND WHEN DID YOU FIRST FALL IN LOVE WITH MUSIC? Hello! My name is Alivia Jakubowski and I am from Whiting, Indiana. I first fell in love with music when I was in middle school. I really started getting interested in playing flute more and more and got really involved in all of the music programs my school had to offer. I knew from 7th grade that I wanted to teach music... and here I am!
HOW DID YOU HEAR ABOUT VANDERCOOK AND WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO ATTEND? I heard about VanderCook from my band director, Patrick Pecher, because he attended this school and had nothing but good things to say about it. I transferred to VanderCook in my second semester of my freshman year because the school where I was attending did not have a strong music education program. Ever since I made the switch, I couldn't be happier to be part of such a great family who cares about me and wants me to be the best teacher I can be.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT AT VANDERCOOK? My most memorable moment so far was going to Kelly High School on an observation day. I got to teach three sectionals of instruments I would have never felt comfortable teaching before coming to VanderCook! It was a great experience and it made me really consider wanting to teach in an inner-city school.
WHEN YOU ARE NOT STUDYING OR ATTENDING CLASS, WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE ACTIVITIES? One of my favorite activities is definitely spending the day going for a walk with my adorable dog, Romeo, and I LOVE going out to eat at new restaurants with my close friends and family. I just love spending quality time with people and having a good conversation.
DO YOU COMMUTE OR LIVE ON CAMPUS AND WHY? I commute to school every day from Indiana! Crazy, right?! It's actually great because I live about 40 minutes away and during those car rides, I'm always listening to new music and putting in some CDs I haven't had the chance to listen to. I commute because it is more cost-efficient for my family and me. It's also nice to have free laundry :)
WHY IS MUSIC IMPORTANT TO YOU? Music is important to me because it gives me a way to share my passion with other people. Music is a universal language that we can all understand and feel together. We are artists. We bleed emotion into our playing and others take that energy and in those moments, I couln't feel more at peace. What better career is there than to give someone else that feeling and teach them to be passionate? It's so powerful and I love every minute of being at VanderCook and learning how to do that to the best of my ability.
DANNY MULLIGAN, VOICE & PERCUSSION, B '19
"My high school directors were a huge inspiration to me and led me to school here, so I'd love to also be able to help students on their college search."
WHERE ARE YOU FROM AND WHEN DID YOU FIRST FALL IN LOVE WITH MUSIC? I am from Shorewood, Illinois and attended Joliet West High School. I can't pinpoint a moment when I first fell in love with music! Whenever I watch old home videos, my mom always told us to sing a song in them, so it started all the way from when I was a toddler!
HOW DID YOU HEAR ABOUT VANDERCOOK AND WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO ATTEND? I heard about VanderCook through my high school band and choir directors. Both had received their master's degrees at VanderCook, and they were both incredible teachers, so I knew this would be a good place for me. After visiting and going on a campus tour, I knew I had to attend!
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT AT VANDERCOOK? My most memorable VanderMoment would have to be performing with many former graduates at the alumni concert. I had the pleasure of singing next to graduates of all ages and it was a really special moment!
WHEN YOU ARE NOT STUDYING OR ATTENDING CLASS, WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE ACTIVITIES? When I'm not in class, I love listening to barbershop music! I'm also a huge Cubs and Bulls fan! I also enjoy going to Keating Sports Center and playing pickup basketball.
WHEN YOU GRADUATE, WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE TO WORK AND WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO TEACH? When I graduate, I hope to go to the suburbs and teach high school choir. My high school directors were a huge inspiration to me and led me to school here, so I'd love to also be able to help my students on their college search. I also love the literature coming out for that level, so I'd really enjoy sharing that with my students.
DO YOU COMMUTE OR LIVE ON CAMPUS AND WHY? I live here on campus. I find it very convenient to have the meal plan and also it allows me to stay late at school for extra practice!
AGATA NOCA, SAXOPHONE, B '19
"It's interesting to think that educators I look up to were in the same spot as I am a few years ago."
WHERE ARE YOU FROM AND HOW DID YOU FIND OUT ABOUT VANDERCOOK? I'm originally from the northern suburbs of Chicago. My initial bachelor's degree is in Musical Theatre, and I've been lucky enough to have the opportunity to act all over the country throughout the past several years, Recently, I was given the opportunity to work as an assistant director with multiple high school choral programs around Chicago, as well as directing a lot of different competitive extra curricular show choir programs. Getting to work with these programs made me realize that I have a passion for education. Several of my colleagues got their certification here at VanderCook, and had amazing things to say about the program.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE VANDERCOOK? The caliber of people that I know who attended VanderCook is unmatched. There are so many amazing teachers I've come across who have attended this program. It's interesting to think that educators I look up to were in the same spot as I am a few years ago. The level of proficiency in VanderCook's graduates is MORE than enough reason to attend this program.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE VANDERCOOK EXPERIENCE? Going to VanderCook has been a CRAZY transition. The breadth of knowledge and courses that are required keeps me on my toes at all times. Working so hard at something that means so much to you is a pretty profound feeling. It's been a scary but amazing new chapter in my life.
WHAT MAKES YOUR EDUCATION AT VANDERCOOK SO ENJOYABLE? The best thing about VanderCook, without question, is the people. From the faculty to the student body, it's exciting being surrounded by individuals who are just as passionate about music education as you are.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE HERE AT VANDERCOOK? Getting to perform at the Midwest Band Clinic was a pretty memorable experience for me. Even as a choral major, the excitement of performing at the closing a week long conference in front of thousands of music educators from all over the country was a pretty incredible feeling!
DO YOU COMMUTE OR LIVE ON CAMPUS? WHY AND WHERE? I commute from the Northside (Andersonville). As a returning student, It's nice to go to a school that is so accommodating for commuters. Parking is easy and relatively inexpensive, and being so close to Lake Shore Drive makes the trip a piece of cake. Plus, I get to look at the skyline on my way to class every morning!