“We watched a number of School of Music productions and concerts during the pandemic, and we still do today,” explains Nile. “It’s easier for us to join that way, relax, and even have a little popcorn at home. The concerts we’ve attended have been amazing. They’re really impressive and very professional.”
Amid the pandemic, Director of the School of Music and Professor of Piano Tammie Walker explained to Nile and Lois that people could no longer attend concerts in person on campus—so she wanted to find a way to bring the concerts to the people. “Before we give, we always like to ask what the School of Music needs,” explains Lois. “It’s nice to have the money earmarked for something special. They know what their students and faculty need most, so we aim to cover the needs that have been unmet so far. It’s nice to help them meet those important goals.” The Dusdiekers’ generosity allowed the School of Music to invest in technology and equipment to live-stream concerts. It started with a few cameras and grew to include switchers, an encoder, a mixer, and the ability to live stream from Voxman Music Building’s Recital Hall and Concert Hall. As a result, anyone from anywhere can watch and listen to the School of Music performances—from guest artist recitals to faculty and student concerts. Even though concerts are being held in person once again, the live streams have continued, adding an exciting outreach angle to the School of Music’s work.
The Dusdiekers are long-time supporters of the School of Music. Several years ago, after the Flood of 2008 destroyed the existing student lounge they helped create, Nile and Lois donated funds for the Dusdieker Student Commons, a new lounge area in the Voxman Music Building where students can study, compose music, or meet a professor over coffee. Nile and Lois say they appreciate the School of Music’s dedication to improvement and progress, including the expansion of the Jazz Studies program, the dedication to curriculum that broadens career options beyond performance, and bringing the first female conductor to the University of Iowa Symphony Orchestra. “The School of Music is moving ahead, and any help people can give is very much appreciated,” says Lois. “Even small gifts can make a big difference.” In the future, the Dusdiekers hope to help the School of Music expand its ability to record and archive live-stream performances once licensing challenges are addressed.
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