The DeWitt Music Hall – we might go in to use the restroom or grab a drink of water before chapel starts, or maybe we pay it a visit when we are wanting to jam out in a practice room, or perhaps in the case of many residents of Hospers Hall and its visitors, we pass through it to avoid freezing on our way to and from the DeWitt Learning Commons. Many who pass through might not realize what goes on behind the walls of the DeWitt Music Hall.
This building houses music professors and instructors as well as people involved in activities like orchestra, choir, band and ensembles. But just as a hall can be easily overlooked in our daily walks through campus so can integral people in different departments. One such indispensable person working behind the scenes is our heroine for this latest issue of Unsung Heroes: music department administrative assistant, Nora Verburg.
Have you ever wondered who typed up the program for the concert or recital you went to? Nora. Music students, do you know who processes your scholarships? Nora. Who manages the music department’s finances? Nora, and she does so much more.
She oversees the movements in the building’s rooms, keeps music majors’ and minors’ records, maintains contact with 20 adjunct faculty and still has the time to occasionally serve as an accompanist for the A Capella choir. Not only that, but she has been working hard in the Music Hall since the fall of 2001.
She is, without a doubt, as student Colin Jorde describes, a “behind-the-scenes mom” – to which the room full of other music students instantly agreed.
This comes as no surprise given that before entering this position at her alma mater, she dedicated eight years to being a stay-at-home mom. And, as all mothers are to be described, she is said to be a “big blessing” to the department, being “organized and nice all the time,” in the words of Ashlynn Anderson and Lauren Johnson, respectively.
Even I, who do not actively participate in the music ensembles present on campus, have had the opportunity to experience Nora’s hospitality when I was asked to search for something in the building and could not find the way. Instead of simply instructing me of where to go and find it, Nora stepped away from her desk and guided me towards the item.
Her helpfulness is evident to all music students, as Libby Ven Huizen said, “Nora can be counted on to help you out with anything and give you a smile.”
When the moment of applying for an administrative position presented itself, Nora was already enticed by the mere job description of her current position – a role that has combined her love for music, her organizational skills and her desire to help others. She’s not someone who would like to repeat the same patterns in her daily work schedule, and her favorite part about her current job is that it doesn’t.
“With this job, no day is the same,” Nora said.
Obviously, all the students involved in the musical activities that occur in the Music Hall get the chance to witness Nora’s kindness, helpfulness and warmth with more frequency; however, anyone is welcome to stop by the music building and experience this first-hand.
So let’s give it up for the mom, the blessing, the woman who “plays a mean piano” and “keeps the music department running like a well-oiled machine,” Nora Verburg.
Also, to those of you out there who have ever walked through the music building on different occasions and wondered where the basket of delicious apples comes from, they are graciously provided by – you guessed it – Nora.